Coachella locks down Rage Against the Machine, Travis Scott & Frank Ocean to headline in 2020

Coachella - 2020 lineup

Coachella Valley Music and Arts Festival //
Empire Polo Club – Indio, CA
April 10th-12th & April 17th-19th, 2020 //

Well, if your New Year’s resolution was to see Rage Against the Machine perform at Coachella, it’s time to start packing your bags.

After the legendary rock band posted to Instagram on Halloween that it would be performing in Indio this April and multiple reports surfaced over the last few weeks confirming the news, the California festival made the announcement official with the release of its 2020 lineup.

It marks the third time that RATM have been booked to headline Coachella, with the previous instance dating back to 2007 when Zack de la Rocha (vocals), Tim Commerford (bass, vocals), Tom Morello (guitar) and Brad Wilk (drums) reunited following the group’s unforeseen break-up seven years prior.

Joining Rage at the top of the fest’s famed poster will be Grammy-nominated rapper Travis Scott and enigmatic crooner Frank Ocean, both of whom will be headlining the three-day, two-weekend event for the first time (though they each have played Coachella before).

And in what was nearly an unprecedented move by organizers, 2016 headliner Calvin Harris has retreated to second-line status. It’s just the second time that’s occurred in Coachella’s 21-year history, with the only other artist being Beck when he headlined its inaugural edition in 1999. But the rest of the undercard boasts some highlights like Flume, Lana Del Rey, Run the Jewels (with a de la Rocha cameo as we once witnessed likely), Thom Yorke, Disclosure, Rex Orange County, Daniel Caesar, FKA twigs, Danny Elfman, Louis the Child, BROCKHAMPTON, Fatboy Slim, Caribou, King Gizzard & the Lizard Wizard, Charli XCX, Jai Wolf, Madeon, Yaeji, Chicano Batman, Hot Chip, Mura Masa, Duck Sauce, GRiZ, DJ Koze, Carly Rae Jepsen, Peggy Gou, Duke Dumont, Floating Points, J.I.D, IDLES, BADBADNOTGOOD, Daphni, Weyes Blood, Steve Lacy, (Sandy) Alex G, slowthai, Big Wild, TOKIMONSTA, Noname, Friendly Fires, Altın Gün, Crumb, Cashmere Cat, Sampha the Great and girl in red.

Like in more recent years, many of the acts on the bill lean in the hip-hop, R&B and electronic direction while rock continues to get phased out. Nevertheless, it’s worth mentioning that two of Dan Snaith’s projects are listed in Caribou and Daphni, the latter of which will assuredly be a DJ set in the Yuma Tent.

Coachella’s first weekend is scheduled for April 10th-12th, with its second weekend slated for April 17th-19th. With Weekend 1 passes already sold out, tickets for Weekend 2 will go on sale this Monday, January 6th at 12 p.m. PT here.

UPDATE (March 10th): Due to the global COVID-19 pandemic, Coachella 2020 has been rescheduled for October 9th-11th and October 16th-18th. All passes purchased for the festival’s previous dates in April will be honored in October, with refunds available to those who are unable to attend. Coachella becomes the latest major event to be affected after South by Southwest and Ultra Music Festival were both canceled last week.

UPDATE (June 11th): As coronavirus cases continue to spike in certain parts of the U.S., the sad and unfortunate likelihood of Coachella not occurring in 2020 has now become a reality. Goldenvoice instead has marked some 2021 dates down on the calendar — Weekend 1 will be April 9-11 and Weekend 2 follows April 16-18 with all 2020 passes purchased being honored — though sadly there’s always the possibility that Coachella could be postponed until October again as we near the New Year, when the festival usually reveals its annual lineup.

Ready to take the desert by storm? Look back at our coverage of Coachella over the years here.

Lightning in a Bottle 2019 boasts Disclosure (DJ set), Big Gigantic, Flying Lotus & more at a new location

Lightning in a Bottle - 2019 lineup

Lightning in a Bottle //
Buena Vista Aquatic Recreation Area – Bakersfield, CA
May 8th-13th, 2019 //

After a longer-than-expected wait, Lightning in a Bottle has finally given us the goods.

The “transformational festival,” which has become an excellent hangover cure for West Coast music fans shortly after Coachella, usually drops its lineup sometime in mid-January, but with new dates and a new location in Kern County holding things up, it took an extra month before we could learn more about who will be performing in 2019.

And boy, did The Do LaB go big for the 14th edition of its signature event, booking Disclosure (DJ set), Big Gigantic, Flying Lotus (3D) and Santigold to lead another outstanding lineup that comes to Buena Vista Aquatic Recreation Area in Bakersfield this May.

Let’s just hope leaving on Monday morning doesn’t take a mind-numbing five hours like it did once at San Antonio Recreation Area, the festival’s previous site in Bradley from 2014-18.

Now a staple in California’s expansive music festival scene, LIB took some more steps toward the mainstream a year ago after securing Anderson .Paak & The Free Nationals, Zhu, Griz and Fever Ray to play its 2018 installlment, and it appears to have continued down that same path with Gramatik, Toro y Moi and Khruangbin on board for this go-around, which will not occur over Memorial Day weekend as has been the tradition.

Lightning in a Bottle 2019 - Phase 2 lineup

Other acts earning a spot on the Phase 1 roster include Rising Appalachia, Masego, ELOHIM, Cautious Clay, Jan Bloomqvist & Band, Channel Tres, Framworks, ÌFÉ, LUM, Mobley, Lane 8, DJ Koze, Damian Lazarus, Shiba San, Bedouin, Recondite (Live), Escapade (Walker & Royce + Ardalan), G Jones, The Polish Ambassador, OPIUO, CloZee, Shades, 1788-L and more.

UPDATE (March 5th): The Do LaB has announced the Phase 2 lineup for LIB 2019 with Ozomatli, Rising Appalachia, My Baby, Swingrowers, Próxima Parada, The Fungineers, Frameworks, Vokab Company, Balkan Bump and more all slated to perform across four stages. Check out the poster above for the rest of the bill.

LIB has received praise as one of the nation’s premier boutique festivals over the years, but that label has been called into question as sold-out crowds have become more of the norm. Meanwhile, prior mainstays like Lucent Dossier Experience and William Close & The Earth Harp Collective have also been recently absent as the fest’s organizers look to branch out.

Four- and five-day passes to LIB can be purchased here for $335 and $395, respectively, this Saturday, February 16th at 10 a.m. PT. As attendees have come to expect over the years, The Do LaB will also continue to promote the ideals of sustainability, social cohesion, personal health and creative expression through art, yoga, workshops and speakers.

Itching to attend LIB? Take a peek at our past coverage here.

The 25 best live music acts of 2016

Best live music acts of 2016

As we officially place 2016 in the history books, it’s time to look back at all the live music we experienced this year. Last year we shared our 25 favorite live performers of 2015, so this year we thought we would do it again while excluding any artists we named in 2015. After all, who really wants to see the same acts listed two years in a row? That said, now that we’re two years removed, our 25 favorite live performers of 2014 were once again fair game.

After covering many excellent bands, musicians and DJs over the past 12 months, trimming our list down to 25 wasn’t easy and as usual, some difficult decisions had to be made. Those who didn’t make the cut but still deserve to be mentioned here include the following artists, DJs and bands (in alphabetical order) whom we either covered at their own show and/or at a music festival this year:

Adrian Younge, Air, Alessia Cara, Alina Baraz, AlunaGeorge, Alvvays, The Arcs, A$AP Ferg, Atlas Genius, Aubrie Sellers, The Avett Brothers, Bag Raiders, Baio, Banks & Steelz, Bas, Battles, Beats Antique, Beach House, Best Coast, Big Freedia, Big Gigantic, Big Grams, Big Wild, Bloc Party, Bob Mould, The Boxer Rebellion, Brand New, Brett Dennen, The California Honeydrops, Capital Cities, Cate Le Bon, Chairlift, Chelsea Wolfe, !!! (Chk Chk Chk), Chris Robinson Brotherhood, Chuck Mosley, Chromeo, Claude VonStroke, The Claypool Lennon Delirium, Cold War Kids, The Crux, Dan Deacon, Danny Brown, Deftones, The Devil Makes Three, Dirtwire, Disclosure, DMA’s, DMX, Drew Holcomb and The Neighbors, Duran Duran, Every Time I Die, Emancipator Ensemble, Ezra Furman, Faith No More, The Faint, Fantastic Negrito, Femi Kuti, Florence + the Machine, Flume, Fruition, The Gaslamp Killer, Geographer, Glass Animals, Gorgon City, Grimes, Halsey, The Head and the Heart, Heartwatch, The Heavy, Highly Suspect, Hippie Sabotage, Holy Fuck, How to Dress Well, Hudson Mohawke, Hundred Waters, IAMX, Ibeyi, Ice Cube, Iggy Pop, The Infamous Stringdusters, Jack Beats, Jack Garratt, Jack Ü, James Bay, Jamie xx, J. Cole, Jimmie Vaughn, Jhené Aiko, The Joy Formidable, Joywave, Julia Holter, Julien Baker, Kaki King, Kamaiyah, Kamasi Washington, Kehlani, K.Flay, The Kills, Kurt Vile, Lafa Taylor, Lana Del Rey, Låpsley, Les Sins, Lettuce, Lionel Richie, Lord Huron, Little Scream, Lucius, M83, Major Lazer, Marian Hill, Mayer Hawthorne, MC YOGI, Methyl Ethel, Metric, Miami Horror, Mick Jenkins, Midi Matilda, Miguel Migs, Modest Mouse, Moon Taxi, M. Ward, Nahko & Medicine for the People, The Naked and Famous, Nas, Nathaniel Rateliff & The Night Sweats, Neon Indian, Nick Murphy (fka Chet Faker), Nite Jewel, Panic! at the Disco, Parliament-Funkadelic, Peaches, Petite Noir, The Pharcyde, The Polish Ambassador, Porches, Prince Rama, Purity Ring, Pusha T, Radiohead, Ra Ra Riot, The Regrettes, The Revivalists, RJD2, Rodrigo y Gabriela, Rogue Wave, Rubblebucket, Run the Jewels, The Russ Liquid Test, Ryan Adams, The Sam Chase & The Untraditional, Saosin, Sarah Neufeld, The Seshen, Shabazz Palaces, Shlohmo, Silversun Pickups, Snakehips, Solange, Son Little, St. Lucia, Stormzy, The Struts, STS9, Sturgill Simpson, Sufjan Stevens, Summer Cannibals, Sunflower Bean, Sigur Rós, St. Germain, Sylvan Esso, Tacocat, Taking Back Sunday, Tedeschi Trucks Band, Thao & the Get Down Stay Down, This Will Destroy You, Thomas Jack, Thundercat, Toro y Moi, Tortoise, Tory Lanez, Tourist, The Trims, Troye Sivan, Umphrey’s McGee, Viceroy, Vince Staples, Vokab Company, Walk the Moon, Warpaint, Wavves, Weezer, Wheeler Walker Jr., White Denim, Wild Belle, Wild Nothing, Years & Years, Yeasayer, YG, Young Fathers, Yuck, ZHU, Ziggy Marley.

Now, it’s time for The Bam Team to present our 25 favorite live performers of 2016.

The Bam Team’s 5 Favorite Shows, Albums & Songs of 2016

Listen to The Bam Team’s favorite songs of 2016:


Best Live Music Acts of 2015 #25 - Tycho

25. Tycho

For as much as Epoch was a surprise, so were Tycho’s two most recent shows in LA last week. It was the first time Hansen and company had played The Fonda Theatre since the Awake tour back in 2014, and Thursday’s sellout, which was announced less than a week before the show, along with the subsequent need to add a second date the next night, made it clear that more than ever, Angelinos have a strong appetite for what Hansen is doing on both a musical and visual level. It helps, too, that KCRW Music Director Jason Bentley, who opened the shows at The Fonda with a DJ set, has helped expose Tycho to a broader audience, whether through the “Morning Becomes Eclectic” theme song or live, in-studio performances by the band. Even nowadays with an abundance of streaming sites, you can’t underestimate the power of radio in a city with a driving culture as large as LA’s. And truth be told, Tycho is some of the best music to drive to, especially when you’re surrounded by nature. -Josh Herwitt, photo by Josh Herwitt


Best Live Music Acts of 2015 #24 - Isaiah Rashad

24. Isaiah Rashad

And when it did, Rashad torpedoed onto stage and turned the restlessness in the room on its head with “Smile”, the apropos homecoming banger he released after years of uncertainty that followed his 2014 EP Cilvia Demo. It was fitting because prior to his reemergence, which was sparked by the song, Rashad admitted to being addicted to Xanax and alcohol, and it almost led to him being dropped from his West Coast record label on several occasions. From his issues with substance abuse to the tears he shed while listening to Kid Cudi’s music and his open-book thoughts on the humanizing of mental-health issues, Rashad’s journey from being the contemplative unknown in superstar Kendrick Lamar’s crew to a complete artist deserving of your attention has been steeped in honesty. -Joseph Gray, photo by Joseph Gray


Best Live Music Acts of 2015 #23 - Bob Moses

23. Bob Moses

Needless to say, worn-out axioms failed to apply in this scenario. Bob Moses silenced anyone attempting to pass them off as yet another contrived electropop outfit aiming to please the masses. At Mezzanine, both Howie and Vallance proved their prowess as EDM innovators, bringing more to the stage than a couple of laptops and a pretty light show. Surprising those unfamiliar with their work or expecting to be underwhelmed, Bob Moses have elevated the live electronic game for their respective contemporaries and succeeded in defining a new chapter for the genre — an innovative sound standard that’s all their own. -Molly Kish, photo by Lisette Worster


Best Live Music Acts of 2015 #22 - Floating Points

22. Floating Points

The band continued building on its rhythms and melodies, creating a hypnotic feeling that was filled with textured synthesizers, guitar pedals and consummate percussion, as laser patterns reflected each rise and fall during its lengthy jam sessions. As Sheppard and his sidekicks progressed through each track, the complexity of the laser projections grew into optical illusions that, almost like another musical instrument onstage, intertwined with the style and progression of the band’s production perfectly. With each song reaching a climax and eventual denouement, the artwork remained untouched for a few minutes so that fans could observe each piece before their very own eyes. -Brett Ruffenach, photo by Alister Mori


Best Live Music Acts of 2015 #21 - Ty Segall

21. Ty Segall

But Segall is no doubt a showman himself, and you’d be hard-pressed to find someone who expends as much energy onstage as he does in merely 90 minutes. His passion simply rubs off on his fans, who wasted little time climbing onstage and taking the plunge into a sea of hands for a couple of minutes. Segall, of course, also got in on the action at one point, as his shows are often known to feature crowd surfing from both band and audience members, and he made sure to take the mic stand with him while he horizontally slithered across the room. -Josh Herwitt, photo by Josh Herwitt


Best Live Music Acts of 2015 #20 - Dr. Teeth and The Electric Mayhem

20. Dr. Teeth and The Electric Mayhem

One of the biggest questions on everyone’s mind coming into Outside Lands was, “Who were Dr. Teeth and The Electric Mayhem?” For those who knew, it was, “How in the hell were the Muppets going to fill a Sunday slot on the main stage?” Because the band had never played a show of such magnitude or outside the context of a TV/film studio, no one had any clue what to expect during this early-afternoon slot. Though some festivalgoers (mistakenly) decided to forego the experience altogether, those present will not forget the incredible feat that Another Planet Entertainment and Jim Henson Enterprises were able to pull off for what was one of the most emotionally nostalgic, blissfully complex and once-in-a-lifetime festival performances maybe ever. The Muppet house band both effortlessly managed to pluck the heartstrings of multiple generations of fans while delivering the most conceptually beautiful “love letter” to the city of SF, blanketing the grounds in a sea of love and collective euphoria for a brief, yet unforgettable moment. -Molly Kish, photo by Rochelle Shipman


Best Live Music Acts of 2015 #19 - RÜFÜS DU SOL

19. RÜFÜS DU SOL

By the time RÜFÜS made their entrance, the excitement in the room was at a fever pitch. The crowd was ready to dance from the very first beat (thanks to the excellent warm-up from Kllo and Yuma X), and they did just that. Lead singer Tyrone Lindqvist took center stage with great energy and proceeded to do the customary water bottle toss shortly after. Lindqvist set the tone right from the get-go for a high-energy, high-audience-participation set. The crowd responded in kind by getting down much harder than expected for a Wednesday night. Notably, there were surprisingly very few phones out as most attendees put away their cameras to make the most of every song. The intimate setting of The Fillmore could almost have been mistaken for the polo grounds of Coachella, given how many girls-on-shoulders could be seen around the venue. -Geoff Hong, photo by Josh Herwitt


Best Live Music Acts of 2015 #18 - Rudimental

18. Rudimental

Through Rudimental tracks like “Not Giving In”, “Free” and “Waiting All Night”, the most unique element of the group’s live production was their charisma. Simply put, they look like they’re having fun. These aren’t tortured artists or cathartic performers — Rudimental are a band that loves the music they make. Even the band’s drummer, Beanie, easily one of the hardest working rhythmists on tour right now, managed to keep a smile on his face, racing through Rudimental’s repertoire of songs that were anywhere from 145 to 160 BPMs. The septet’s de-facto leader, DJ Locksmith, was surprisingly more in the background than you would expect from a typical DnB hype man. As Rudimental wrapped up their set with their chart-topping hit “Feel the Love”, the crowd joined in as the song ended, creating a shared moment at The Fox that perfectly reflected the intention of Rudimental — to spread the love. -Brett Ruffenach, photo by Marc Fong


Best Live Music Acts of 2015 #17 - BØRNS

17. BØRNS

On this night, that proverbial phrase seemingly rang true. It wasn’t just that BØRNS most likely amassed the largest attendance in the history of the Twilight Concert Series, but also the fact that it was easily one of the best shows I’ve ever witnessed at the Santa Monica Pier. One could certainly point to the opening of the Expo Line extension as a reason for the larger crowds so far this summer, which wasn’t all that noticeable during the series’ opening night with Mayer Hawthorne just the week prior, but that would simply be underestimating the exponential rise of Garrett Borns’ eponymous project. Since he relocated to Los Angeles in 2013 and signed with Interscope Records, the Michigan native has gone from supporting modest indie bands like MisterWives to selling out shows as a headliner in a matter of a year. -Josh Herwitt, photo by Josh Herwitt


Best Live Music Acts of 2015 #16 - Flying Lotus

16. Flying Lotus

Brainfeeder founder, producer and unapologetic cultural mouthpiece Flying Lotus (born Steven Ellison) ended the night with a mildly controversial headlining set. Walking onstage and making what any FlyLo fan would recognize as an off-colored comment on the current presidential race may have proven too brazen for those not used to his brand. He let Captain Murphy out of the box a little early and road the wave of confusion into a heady, bass-driven assault on the conflicted crowd, providing the distinct audio punctuation point for the night’s bill of artists. Playing several tracks off of his 2014 LP You’re Dead! as well as various hits from high-profile hip-hop emcees like Travis Scott and Kendrick Lamar that he has produced over the years, Ellison stunned us all with his double-screen, audio-visual stage setup and plenty of bone-rattling bass drops. -Molly Kish, photo by Marc Fong


Best Live Music Acts of 2015 #15 - The Last Shadow Puppets

15. The Last Shadow Puppets

TLSP brought a strings section to their show, an added element that helped keep things fresh and new. The show began with the beautiful sounds of violins and cellos, but the moment TLSP got onstage, the whole floor at The Fillmore lit up in billows of smoke. I’m sure the band was stoned by the end of the show if it hadn’t been already, appearing beyond excited to be playing on a Sunday night in SF. Turner and Kane must have yelled out something about SF every few minutes and incorporated SF into some of their songs. They were so incredibly tight, and I felt their set in some ways was a bit better than what I had witnessed years ago — the mix and order of the songs felt more succinct at The Fillmore. -Rachel Goodman, photo by Diana Cordero


Best Live Music Acts of 2015 #14 - Miike Snow

14. Miike Snow

Sunday’s roster at Coachella last year was significantly weaker in comparison to Friday’s and Saturday’s. This year was much of the same, though Calvin Harris somehow proved to be an even worse headliner than Drake (we didn’t know that was possible). But one of the bright spots on Day 3 was no doubt Miike Snow’s 9:45 p.m. slot in the Mojave Tent, the same place where I discovered the Swedish trio back in 2010 during my first Coachella. Andrew Wyatt, Christian Karlsson and Pontus Winnberg have come a long way since then, and with three studio albums in their catalog, including their latest effort iii, they have more than enough material to fill out a 50-minute set and leave you wanting to hear more. -Josh Herwitt, photo by Norm de Veyra


Best Live Music Acts of 2015 #13 - Young Thug

13. Young Thug

Fresh off releasing the latest — and final — installment of his Slime Season mixtape trilogy, Young Thug took his place on the stage. Arriving in a white blouse, multicolored sequined jacket, dark shades, a polka-dot head scarf and remarkably slim, golden pants, he aligned such a rangy and vibrant uniform with his performance. There wouldn’t be any towering LED lights, stunts or stage diving. However, Young Thug, who for the majority of his roughly hour-long set played the lone wolf, delighted the crowd with his animated and bright delivery while running through thundering Slime Season 3 favorites like “With Them”, “Digits” and “Slime Shit”. The audience, ranging from high school seniors to seasoned workers likely with mortgages, strikingly recited every uncanny, controversial lyric and Ric Flair-esque “Woo!” like they had been analyzing them for years. -Joseph Gray, photo by Joseph Gray


Best Live Music Acts of 2015 #12 - Pretty Lights

12. Pretty Lights

Touring with a live band for the first time in 2013 — something that few other EDM artists have done to this day — he quickly changed the way electronic music can be experienced live. Fast forward to last Thursday, and we were once again treated to an electrifying Pretty Lights show that was more than just Smith behind a pair of Macbook Pros and two Akai MPD32s. Making his debut at the majestic Santa Barbara Bowl, he once again showed why he isn’t your typical EDM act. With Chris Karns and Big Wild providing support, Smith hit the stage at 8 p.m. with his bandmates — Karns, Borham Lee, Brandon Butler and Alvin Ford, Jr. — and put on a show that dazzled both sonically and visually. What was most impressive, though, was seeing how much of the performance was improvised, as the band transitioned from one jam to another while dropping in a number of remixes here and there. And as I looked on from my seat in the stands, I couldn’t help but think about how much the show reminded me of all the times I’ve seen STS9 perform live. It only seemed fitting considering that the livetronia band helped give Smith his start back in the day, and with the “EDM bubble” about to burst (that is, if it hasn’t already), it’s hopefully an approach more electronic artists will gravitate toward in the future. -Josh Herwitt, photo by Josh Herwitt


Best Live Music Acts of 2015 #11 - Mac DeMarco

11. Mac DeMarco

The 26-year-old king of slacker rock, who over the past few years has become a fan favorite of many Bay Area audiophiles, never seems to hold back when he comes to town. His first night in SF last week saw him jump from The Indy’s balcony into an awaiting crowd (a feat that was later imitated by a female audience member at The Warfield the next night), run around half naked while playing new songs and perform a 25-minute cover of Eric Clapton’s 1971 hit single “Layla” with fart solos sprinkled throughout. -James Pawlish, photo by James Pawlish


Best Live Music Acts of 2015 #10 - Moderat

10. Moderat

Easily the most anticipated set of the weekend from this spectator’s vantage point, Moderat hadn’t toured since dropping a pair of EPs in 2014. But with the release of its third full-length album, aptly titled III, the Berlin-based supergroup comprised of Apparat’s Sascha Ring and Modeselektor members Gernot Bronsert and Sebastian Szary were primed to make their mark on the final day of LIB — and that they did. Beginning with “Ghostmother” off their latest LP, Moderat ran through a good chunk of new material, but nothing ignited the crowd more than their new single “Reminder”, which remains one of our favorite songs of the year so far. As we witnessed a few days earlier at The Fonda Theatre in LA, the group’s dark, minimalist stage setup with psychedelic flourishes paired nicely with Ring’s ethereal vocals. Of all the other performances throughout the weekend, Moderat’s 90-minute set undoubtedly stood as one of the brightest moments of LIB 2016. -Josh Herwitt, photo by Josh Herwitt


Best Live Music Acts of 2015 #9 - Foals

9. Foals

Foals closed out their rambunctious set with a killer take on the title track “What Went Down” that brought lead singer/guitarist Yannis Philippakis diving into the crowd, giving fans one hell of a selfie and proving their rock credentials for good. After all, any band that can unite 20-something bros with 50-something grandparents gets a gold star in our book. Rock brings people together, and those who made it out to see this unicorn of a band won’t live to regret it. -Zach Bourque, photo by Steve Carlson


Best Live Music Acts of 2015 #9 - Tame Impala

8. Tame Impala

As they opened with the dream-inducing interlude “Nangs” from their latest studio album Currents, Tame Impala gave the crowd an ample minute and a half to commit to the spatial surroundings before jumping full throttle into an explosive rendition of lead single “Let It Happen,” playing the tracks in reverse order than they are on the LP. By the third song (as promised), the sky, having just turned black, was filled with a stadium’s worth of rainbow confetti as the band played the opening chords of 2012’s psuedo love ballad “Mind Mischief”. Followed by a rare performance — only the second time in three years — of “Music to Walk Home By” from 2012’s Lonerism, Tame Impala played a wide range of emotive classics while scrambling the brains of more than 8,500 audience members with their intense onslaught of sensory-overloading imagery and hypnotic light show. -Molly Kish, photo by James Pawlish


Best Live Music Acts of 2015 #7 - Jim James

7. Jim James

James is in rare company these days, amid a dying breed of guitar-rock gods like Jack White and Josh Homme who are not only capable of playing anything on six strings, but also on a myriad of instruments. And while Eternally Even feels in some ways like an opportunity for him to finally experiment more with keyboards, James made sure to remind his fans at the 90-year-old Orpheum Theatre last Friday that shredding is still a priority. Performing in his new hometown after officially moving to LA this year, he assumed the role of lead singer for much of the show as he and his bandmates from Twin Limb (also opening for James on this tour) played all of Eternally Even and half of Regions. But propped up by a stand onstage the whole time was James’ black Gibson axe, and you knew at some point during a two-hour set that he was going to unload some sick riffs like we have become accustomed to seeing from him at Jacket shows. -Josh Herwitt, photo by Josh Herwitt


Best Live Music Acts of 2015 #6 - The National

6. The National

The real headline from The National’s performance was hands down the new material that was debuted, pretty much across their entire set, encore included. A rather standard opening of “Don’t Swallow the Cap” and “I Should Live in Salt” led into our first taste of the band’s upcoming LP in the form of “Checking Out”. Though many locals likely recognized this track from last year’s Treasure Island Music Festival (read our review here), it has tightened up over the past year and even begins to sound familiar as the Brooklyn-based five-piece begins to weave in more electronic, synth-like elements. -Kevin Quandt, photo by Steve Carlson


Coachella 2016 - Guns 'N Roses

5. Guns N’ Roses

There may have been no more talked-about act in Coachella’s 17-year history than Saturday’s headliner — and for good reason. Going back to 1993, it had been 23 years since Axl Rose and Slash last performed on the same stage together, and though some of that allure had worn off by the time they reached Indio thanks to a surprise show in LA and back-to-back nights in Las Vegas in prior weeks, Guns N’ Roses were still the talk of the town leading up to Coachella. In fact, all you had to do was look around on Saturday and see just how many GNR T-shirts were traversing the polo field before their 10:30 p.m. set. When it came time to deliver, the original trio of Axl, Slash and bassist Duff McKagan most certainly did, while rhythm guitarist Richard Fortus and drummer Frank Ferrer proved to be more than suitable fill-ins for Izzy Stradlin and Steven Adler/Matt Sorum. Meanwhile, the surprise appearance by Angus Young couldn’t have come at a much better time after the announcement was made minutes before GNR’s set that Rose will be filling in for Brian Johnson on AC/DC’s remaining tour dates this year. GNR have always been one of my biggest bucket-list bands, and even if a broken leg prevented Axl from strutting and slithering across the stage like he once did as a brash, slender 21-year-old rock star, seeing one of my favorite childhood bands perform for two and a half hours felt all too surreal as I left the Empire Polo Club that night. -Josh Herwitt, photo courtesy of Coachella


Coachella 2016 - Sia

4. Sia

From the very beginning, Sia set herself apart from every other artist who took the Coachella Stage this year. With the Australian artist standing in the back of the stage, her set was more performance art than it was pop music. While her face was hidden thanks to her trademark wig, Sia’s voice stood front and center as she belted out every note to hits like “Diamonds”, “Bird Set Free” and “Titanium”. Throughout it all, different dancers and actors would come on stage, abstractly embodying the themes her songwriting often conveys: fear, anticipation, stress, anger, joy, love and most of all, doubt. As Kristen Wiig and Paul Dano contributed to the overall performance, the height of Sia’s conceptual masterpiece reached its peak with a breathtaking rendition of “Breathe Me”, bringing some of the audience to tears. It was the true headliner of Sunday night and among the top performances of the entire weekend. -Brett Ruffenach, photo courtesy of Coachella


Best Live Music Acts of 2015 #3 - Chance the Rapper

3. Chance the Rapper

In one of the few transcendent moments of the weekend, a set that had everyone throughout the fairgrounds hyped into an anticipatory frenzy, Chance the Rapper performed at the Lands End stage on Sunday afternoon for easily the largest crowd of the entire weekend. Even those who stood their ground through Third Eye Blind’s preceding set felt the drastic change in both crowd size and personal space as the Polo Fields flooded and temperatures rose. Even though Chance could have used this to his advantage and conducted an explosive show, igniting the tightly configured crowd into a combustive state, he instead took his fans “to church” with a spiritually centered gospel set, making sure everyone was attentive and of course, that “his part” resonated among the masses. -Molly Kish, photo by Norm de Veyra


Best Live Music Acts of 2015 #2 - LCD Soundsystem

2. LCD Soundsystem

Over the last couple of years, it’s hard to think of a band I have wanted to see more than LCD Soundsystem. Deeply tied to my formative years in college, the Brooklyn outfit’s return after a five-year hiatus was nothing short of stunning. Opening with the undeniably groovy “Us vs. Them” and covering a good chunk of their catalog over almost two hours, LCD certainly met the expectations of an eager crowd. James Murphy kept the banter between songs fairly short, and these indie heavyweights demonstrated a true dedication to their craft, starting fast with songs like “Movements” and “Yeah” before moving to more deep, tightly wound rhythms on “Someone Great” and “Home”. Though “Losing My Edge” was written more than 10 years ago, Murphy’s part-improvised, part-proclamation, part-perfectly-delivered rendition of the track seemed to really capture the attention of more casual LCD fans. Nearing the end of its set, the band covered “Heroes” by late collaborator David Bowie. I have seen many concerts as well as attended many festivals in my life, but this was truly among the most beautiful moments in live music I have ever experienced. Wrapping up their headlining performance with “All My Friends”, LCD Soundsystem proved to be among the top artists to ever grace the festival’s main stage. -Brett Ruffenach, photo by Norm de Veyra


Best Live Music Acts of 2015 #1 - Anderson .Paak

1. Anderson .Paak

I’m going to be completely honest: I went to SXSW this year to see .Paak because I knew once he played it, tickets to his shows would be impossible to get. Six months later, $30 tickets to his show in San Francisco at The Fillmore resold for upwards of $400. If you didn’t have another way to get into that show or rent to pay, it was worth it. The energy that comes out of .Paak while he’s performing is charming, infectious and unmatched. He splits his time roaming every inch of the stage and behind his drum set, often singing and rapping without missing a beat. At .Paak’s December show at the Hollywood Palladium in LA, Stevie Wonder came out not to sing, but to tell the crowd what a big fan he is. So basically, Stevie Wonder dropped by. OK, Anderson … we see you. -Rochelle Shipman, photo by Norm de Veyra

Outside Lands 2016

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After touring with Sia, AlunaGeorge have never been more well-suited to succeed than now

AlunaGeorgeBy Josh Herwitt //

Red Bull Sound Select – 30 Days in LA: AlunaGeorge with Xavier Omär //
Belasco Theater – Los Angeles
November 22nd, 2016 //

If you haven’t heard of AlunaGeorge, there’s a good chance you’ve probably heard them on the radio and just didn’t know. But it probably wasn’t one of their own songs that you heard. Nope, it was more than likely from another English electronic duo by the name of Disclosure.

For plenty, Disclosure’s 2013 hit “White Noise” off their debut LP Settle was the first exposure they had to the namesake of vocalist/songwriter Aluna Francis and producer/instrumentalist George Reid. And though their very first single “You Know You Like It” reached as high as No. 13 on the Billboard Hot 100 thanks in part to DJ Snake’s remix for “The Amazing Spider-Man 2” boosting the song’s popularity, AlunaGeorge had yet to have a bonafide pop song in their arsenal until brothers Howard and Guy Lawrence enlisted Francis’ pipes a few years ago.

Since then, Francis and Reid together have released two full-length albums, including most recently I Remember as the follow-up to 2013’s initial offering Body Music. While their latest studio effort sees them expanding horizons with some guest spots — something they didn’t endeavor on Body Music — from New Orleans-born rapper Pell, Chinese-American electronic musician/singer ZHU and Jamaican dancehall emcee Popcaan on lead single “I’m in Control”, the loudest roar from the healthy crowd at LA’s Belasco Theater last Tuesday came when they dropped the popular Disclosure track toward the middle of their hour-long performance.

AlunaGeorge

Despite the show being scheduled right before a holiday weekend, it was still billed as one of the premier events for Red Bull Sound Select’s 30 Days in LA series this month and rightfully so. AlunaGeorge, in fact, were coming off their most important string of dates having served as one of two opening acts (the other being Miguel) on the North American leg of Sia’s 2016 arena tour. So, after gracing the stage at the world-famous Hollywood Bowl this fall, Francis and Reid had no reason to be intimidated by the Belasco’s main theater room. If anything, it only gave them the freedom to showcase some of their songs under a new and different light.

As we reached the midway point of their set with back-to-back singles from I Remember (the title track and “My Blood”), AlunaGeorge entered unchartered territory as they welcomed Pell and a three-piece brass band onstage to help them perform “Full Swing” live for the first time. It was a fitting way to wrap up a tour after months and months of both festival dates and club gigs all around the world, stretching the scope of electronic music with merely an element or two of surprise sprinkled into the equation. Because on this night, whether many attendees had heard of them or not, AlunaGeorge did everything they could to help them not forget.

Setlist:
Mediator
Your Drums, Your Love
I’m in Control
Automatic (ZHU cover)
White Noise (Disclosure cover)
My Blood
I Remember
Full Swing (with Pell) (with brass section)
Heartbreak Horizon (with brass section)
Not Above Love (with brass section)
Hold Your Head High
Mean What I Mean
You Know You Like It

Disclosure get down with the Dirtybird crew at a sold-out 1015 Folsom

DisclosurePhotos by Lisette Worster // Written by Molly Kish //

Disclosure (DJ set) //
1015 Folsom – San Francisco
May 20th, 2016 //

Between their back-to-back, sold-out shows at Bill Graham Civic Auditorium last week, UK electronic music duo Disclosure took over 1015 Folsom for their very own Friday night after-party.

Bringing the beats alongside Dirtybird Records members Justin Martin and Fernando Rivera, brothers Howard and Guy Lawrence hit the DJ booth on the southern side of the main dance floor a little after midnight and embraced the chaotic energy of the venue’s layout while playing to another capacity crowd.

Disclosure threw down an epic set, pulling from their two studio albums Caracal and Settle as well as dropping a number of B-sides and remixes, that lasted until early Saturday morning.

Disclosure combine their UK electronic roots with a pop sensibility at Bill Graham Civic Auditorium

DisclosurePhotos by Lisette Worster // Written by Brett Ruffenach //

Disclosure with Miss Honey Dijon //
Bill Graham Civic Auditorium – San Francisco
May 21st, 2016 //

In the recent rise of electronic music and its foray into the pop music world, attempts to take initially underground styles of house and techno into the mainstream have garnered mixed results. Ultra Music Festival in Miami has scaled back to one weekend after experimenting with a two-weekend format in 2013. Las Vegas’ infatuation with European DJs manning the decks at their multi-million dollar clubs seems to be waning. Big-name artists like Avicii are retiring from touring. Amid the discussion of potentially the “EDM bubble” bursting, only a select few have broken through to the commercially viable world of pop music.

Arguably the most successful of all these artists at the moment is Disclosure, the UK garage-inspired, electronic music duo comprised of brothers Guy and Howard Lawrence. Exploding onto the scene with their debut studio album Settle, the two brothers were heralded for their thumping production and accessible style. Now touring in support of their sophomore effort Caracal, the two brothers invaded the Bill Graham Civic Auditorium last Saturday to play the second of two sold-out shows in one of the the largest indoor venues SF has to offer.

Opening their set with radio hit “White Noise”, Disclosure’s production design was about as big and bright as one would expect — with a massive LED screen behind and below them, the two brothers each manned their own booths — in what was more or less a battle station that came with a smorgasbord of instruments to play.

Disclosure

With Guy primarily managing percussion and Howard maneuvering between bass, keyboards and vocals, the English duo presented a fairly innovative approach to producing house music in a live setting. Guy would hit his drum pads to generate the group’s signature 4/4 beat while Howard’s vocals proved to be a particularly impressive part of the duo’s live show. And across songs like “Echoes”, “Jaded” and “F for You”, Howard’s vocals met his bass and synthesizer with power and accuracy. Reflecting on my first encounter with Disclosure at Sasquatch! in 2013, vocals seemed more like a necessity than a feature for Disclosure, so this was quite an improvement from what I remember back then.

Engaged though not enthused relative to the size of the production happening before them, the crowd bopped to the beat during each song, reaching its highest point during “Magnets”, “Nocturnal” and “Holding On”. Considering this was Disclosure’s largest tour yet, those in attendance seemed relatively uninspired compared to other big-name EDM acts I’ve seen in SF. While it made for a smooth entrance and exit from the venue, there was a certain sense of excitement missing from the audience.

When it comes to live music, you could argue there are fundamentally different ways in which one would judge the value of a live band versus a DJ. Live bands focus on technical skill in the forms of instrumentation and vocals. Electronic music producers and DJs, on the other hand, focus on flow and energy, seamlessly blending tracks together to weave a tapestry of music that changes in intensity throughout a set. However, due to their UK garage roots and pop sensibilities, Disclosure find themselves awkwardly positioned between these two forms of live music.

This became particularly apparent about halfway through Disclosure’s set. After six or seven songs that ended as neatly as they began, they switched things up with an extended remix of “Bang That” that lead into their single “When a Fire Starts to Burn”, resulting in a scorching 15-minute period of progressive house music that dramatically changed the vibe. At the very beginning of “When a Fire Starts to Burn”, I thought of the first time I heard this track three years prior and when I heard it this past April at Coachella in a glimpse of the festival’s main stage. In each experience, I had the same thought: Disclosure does not get any better than this. “When a Fire Starts to Burn” is as infectious as Disclosure gets — thumping kick drums, smooth bass lines, wonky chord progressions and nondescript vocal samples. Consequently, it was undoubtedly a highlight of the night.

Disclosure

As Disclosure’s set drew to a close, Guy asked the crowd to welcome Lion Babe vocalist Jillian Hervey, who is featured on their track “Hourglass”, onto the stage. Although Harvey put her all into the song, it felt relatively underwhelming. Disclosure ended their set with “Holding On”, a track that seems to be a new fan favorite.

After leaving and returning just as quickly to the stage for an encore, Disclosure brought out with them Brendan Riley, another vocalist featured on their Caracal cut “Moving Mountains”. Riley put on an incredible performance, showing off his talent as a singer, but truth be told, “Moving Mountains” as a song is an embarrassing departure from Disclosure’s signature sound. With a two-step beat reminiscent of ODESZA and a Flume-like textured production style, the entire song came off as a cheap appeal to the other forms of electronic music that have achieved comparable levels of commercial success.

As the Bill Graham Civic Auditorium emptied out for the night, continuing to lack a certain buzz that similar crowds have possessed in the past, it was clear that Disclosure did not hit their mark. Between the art direction, setlist and flow between tracks, there was a clear lack of cohesiveness in their production. If Disclosure wants to avoid fading into irrelevance as the EDM bubble continues to deflate, they’ll need to bring more to the table than drum pads and big LED screens. Fortunately the Lawrence brothers are barely old enough to order a beer in the U.S., so they’ve still got plenty of time to go back to the drawing board.

SF Show of the Week // GO4FREE to Disclosure (DJ set) at 1015 Folsom 5/20 (FRI)

DisclosureWritten by Nik Crossman //

Disclosure (DJ set) //
1015 Folsom – San Francisco
May 20th, 2016 //

Brothers Howard and Guy Lawrence, better known under their stage name Disclosure, began making music together in 2010 in a room above their father’s auction house. They continued to gain popularity by touring the UK with live mixing gigs and DJ sets. Disclosure maintained their momentum with their first domestic hit “Latch”, which fueled the release of their debut studio album Settle in 2013 and propelled the duo to No. 1 on the UK Albums Chart, receiving high marks from The Guardian and Pitchfork.

With the raving success of Settle, Disclosure embarked on a worldwide tour before working on their second LP Caracal. Featuring vocal contributions from Sam Smith, Lorde, The Weeknd, Kwabs and more, it became another chart-topping success last year for the Lawrence brothers and was nominated for “Best Dance Album” at the 2016 Grammy Awards.

This Friday, Disclosure will hit the decks at 1015 Folsom for a late-night DJ set. Tickets are sold out, but you could win a pair of tickets by submitting your full name and email below.

Contest ends this Friday at 3 p.m.


Follow Showbams on Twitter for more contest giveaways throughout the week. Be the first to respond to our contest tweets to GO4FREE to these shows:

Vetiver: May 18th (WED) @ The Independent
Little Wings: May 29th (THUR) @ The Chapel
B.O.B.: May 20th (FRI) @ The New Parish
Swingin’ Utters: May 21st (SAT) @ The New Parish


Win-2-Tickets

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Sasquatch! Music Festival releases 2016 lineup

Sasquatch! Music Festival - 2016 lineup

Sasquatch! Music Festival //
Gorge Amphitheatre – Quincy, WA
May 27th-30th, 2016 //

Returning to the majestic Gorge Amphitheatre over Memorial Day weekend, Sasquatch! Music Festival has dropped another impressive lineup for its 2016 edition.

Now in its 15th year, the Pacific Northwest fest organized by Adam Zacks and Live Nation will feature performances by The Cure, Florence + the Machine, Disclosure, Major Lazer, Alabama Shakes and a whole lot more over four action-packed days. Some of our favorites include Leon Bridges, Jamie xx, A$AP Rocky, Caribou, M83, Kurt Vile, Yeasayer, Mac DeMarco, Big Grams, Chet Faker, Lord Huron and Tycho. See the poster above for the full lineup.

If you’re thinking about going to Sasquatch! this May, you’ll need to act quickly. GA tickets go on sale Tuesday, January 12th (in other words, today) at 10 a.m. here, and VIP supertickets can also be purchased on the festival’s website here.

Last spring, Showbams made the trek to The Gorge to cover Sasquatch! for our first time, and we didn’t leave disappointed when it was all said and done. With another stellar bill of artists, Sasquatch! is sure to shine once again in 2016.

Coachella releases 2016 lineup, headlined by LCD Soundsystem, Guns N’ Roses, Calvin Harris

Coachella 2016 lineup

Coachella Valley Music and Arts Festival //
Empire Polo Club – Indio, CA
April 15th-17th & April 22nd-24th //

Early last week, rumors started to swirl that both Guns N’ Roses and LCD Soundsystem would headline Coachella this April. Now, those rumors have been officially confirmed.

The three-day, two-weekend festival announced its 2016 lineup on Monday night, and both reunited bands (though we’re still not sure which members from Guns N’ Roses will take the stage) will indeed headline the Goldenvoice event along with superstar DJ Calvin Harris, who performed on Coachella’s main stage two years ago and attracted the second largest crowd in its history.

Other notable acts listed on this year’s bill include Ellie Goulding, Sufjan Stevens, Jack Ü, M83, Underworld, The Kills, Foals, Ice Cube, Disclosure, Zedd, A$AP Rocky, CHRVCHES, Halsey, James Bay, Sia, Major Lazer, Flume, Beach House, The 1975, Rancid and Mike Snow.

Coachella’s first weekend is scheduled for April 15th-17th, with its second weekend slated for April 22nd-24th. All tickets will go on sale for both weekends on Wednesday, January 6th at 11 a.m. here. GA passes for Weekend 1 are already sold out, and a limited number of Weekend 1 GA + Shuttle passes remain. The festival’s organizers strongly recommend buying Weekend 2 passes for those interested in attending.

UPDATE: Guns N’ Roses released a statement on Tuesday confirming that original members Slash (guitar) and Duff McKagan (bass) will join frontman Axl Rose onstage at Coachella this year. The band’s Saturday night headlining set will mark the first time all three have played a show together since 1993. The rest of the band’s lineup has not been confirmed yet, but stay tuned for more information here.

Five female emerging artists you need to hear

NAO, Andra Day, Zara Larsson, Tala & KiiaraWritten by Krystal Beez //

Get familiar with these five female emerging artists.


1. NAO

NAO

Who: NAO

Origin: East London, Britain

What she’s about: NAO is a graduate of the Guildhall School of Music & Drama, where she studied vocal jazz. After teaching singing for a few years, she decided that she wanted to make her own music. Since 2014, she has released two EPs on her own label Little Tokyo. NAO’s sleek and at times, dark production, combined with her rich and subtle vocals, create a smoky neo-soul sound that integrates quite a few different influences, such as funk, R&B and UK bass, seamlessly. Most recently, NAO contributed to Disclosure’s Caracal on the superb track “Superego”, as well as released her first single from her debut album, which is due out early next year. Listen to “Bad Blood” below.

File next to: FKA twigs. SBTRKT. Lion Babe. Billie Black.

Follow: Facebook. Soundcloud. Twitter. Spotify.


2. ANDRA DAY

Andra Day

Who: Andra Day

Origin: San Diego, California

What she’s about: After releasing a few covers that went viral on YouTube back in 2012, Andra Day is now signed with Warner Bros. Records. After one listen, it’s easy to see why many compare her to the likes of Amy Winehouse and Billie Holiday. But it’s not just her vintage style and “retro-pop-soul” sound, as Day calls it. It’s that raw emotion that few singers have, and it makes for a very special live performance. Her debut album Cheers to the Fall was released earlier this year and is produced by Raphael Saadiq and Adrian Gurvitz. She recently performed in San Francisco to a sold-out crowd at Rickshaw Stop (hopefully you were there). If you weren’t, watch her live performance for NPR’s Tiny Desk Concert below, and you’ll understand why she’s on this list.

File next to: Amy Winehouse. Billie Holiday. Adele.

Follow: Facebook. Soundcloud. Twitter. Spotify.


3. ZARA LARSSON

Zara Larsson

Who: Zara Larsson

Origin: Stockholm, Sweden

What she’s about: If you’re looking for a new pop fix, look no further. At just 17 years old, this Swedish pop singer has already won Sweden’s equivalent of “America’s Got Talent”, signed a record deal and released her debut album 1. “Lush Life”, her debut single from her second album, is the stuff that summer jams are made of. And then there’s “Rooftop”, another pop anthem with light harmonies and a strong beat. But perhaps the most exciting track in her repertoire is the latest, a collaboration with MNEK (an amazing up-and-coming artist in his own right) titled “Never Forget You”. In September, the track was named by Annie Mac of BBC Radio 1 as the hottest record in the world, and rightfully so. Get ready to listen to your new favorite song below.

File next to: Robyn. Lorde. Rihanna.

Follow: Facebook. Soundcloud. Twitter. Spotify.


4. TĀLĀ

Tala

Who: TĀLĀ

Origin: Southwest London, Britain

What she’s about: “The idea of taking something and fusing it with its complete opposite excites me,” TALA says of her influences. This best describes what the multicultural producer is all about, and her music explains the rest. Start with “The Duchess“, released last year, and then listen to “Tell Me”, featuring up-and-coming UK producer Mssingo and Korean group Wa$$up. Both tracks combine electronic pop with a global, experimental sound that is all her own. And then check out TALA’s most recent release, which features Banks, and you’ll see why TALA is one of the most exciting producers to emerge this year. Listen to “Wolfpack” below.

File next to: Cashmere Cat. Lil Silva. M.I.A. FKA twigs.

Follow: Facebook. Soundcloud. Twitter. Spotify.


5. KIIARA

Kiiara

Who: Kiiara

Origin: Illinois

What she’s about: Not a whole lot is known about Kiiara other than the fact that she is from Illinois, worked at a hardware store and Felix Snow produced her first single “Gold” (below). But we’re loving her whispery voice over the glitchy pop/R&B bass-heavy beat. Hippie Sabotage released their remix of “Gold” just a few weeks ago, and Kiiara’s debut EP Meet Me in the Cornfield is coming soon.

File next to: Made in Heights. Kate Boy. Alina Baraz. Marian Hill.

Follow: Facebook. Soundcloud. Twitter. Spotify.


Which female emerging artists are you most excited about? Let us know in the comments below!

Cut Copy ring in New Year with no spare of ‘lights and music’

Cut CopyPhotos by Bridget Stagnitto & Jenn Wong // Written by Molly Kish //

Cut Copy with The Juan Maclean, St. Pepsi, Eli Glad //
Mezzanine – San Francisco
December 31st, 2014 //

Unquestionably one of the easiest decisions made all year and further confirmed by the sold-out crowd in attendance last Wednesday night, Cut Copy headlining the Mezzanine for New Year’s Eve was pretty much a no-brainer.

Riding off an amazing year touring behind their fourth album Free Your Mind, the foursome arrived in the states ready to rage well into the earliest hours of 2015. The club was primed for the electrifying headliners with opening DJ sets from St. Pepsi and Eli Glad that was accompanied by a Russian Standard Vodka bar.

Leading into Cut Copy’s late-night slot, DFA Records brought the heat with a disco-infused DJ set from The Juan Maclean. Stationed side stage, MacLean got up close and personal with the rowdy crowd, playing hits off his 2014 critically-acclaimed release In a Dream to go along with deeper cuts and house favorites from his previous three albums on the iconic label. In a near-seamless transition, Maclean kept the crowd moving while Cut Copy’s road crew fine-tuned the sound and light equipment occupying the center stage. Inching toward the final minutes of 2014, the crowd, although anxious, remained enveloped in the pulsating nu-disco pumping through the venue’s veins.

Cut Copy

With about 10 minutes left before the official countdown, Cut Copy exploded from a sea of light into the opening notes of “We Are Explorers”, igniting the crowd into a full-volume singalong and dance party. What at first seemed like a late start to their headlining set ended up timing out perfectly as an extended jam closed to usher in the New Year. Amidst their fully-immersive light show and a barrage of rainbow-colored balloons, couples kissed and friends embraced to fan favorite “Take Me Over”, which blended continuously into a euphoric rendition of “Free Your Mind,” causing the sold-out venue to collectively lose their own. The evening’s performance pulled from Cut Copy’s entire discography, pleasing what unquestionably was an audience filled with longtime fans who got to share an extremely special moment with the band and each other.

The band rocked its set well into the early-evening hours before leaving it for Deep Into the Night, which featured DJ performances from Cut Copy and Phantogram. While they didn’t promise new material during their set, Cut Copy has been cutting their producer chops after releasing their Melbourne dance music compilation, entitled Oceans Apart, in November. Highlighting the best and brightest in local acts from Down Under, Cut Copy have been keeping their ear to the ground and their fans attentive, opening up a world of possibilities for potential upcoming tour dates and collaborations.

If anything can be learned from this past year’s Disclosure-curated “Wild Life Series”, Cut Copy may have some creative plans for the future. After the incredible performance they put on to celebrate the annual bacchanal that is NYE, one can only hope that they’ll be back stateside sooner rather than later in 2015.

Cut Copy

Cut Copy

Cut Copy

Cut Copy

Cut Copy

Cut Copy

Cut Copy

Cut Copy

The Top 10 summer anthems of 2014

Summer-COVERWritten by Kevin Quandt & Krystal Beez //

With Labor Day in the rearview mirror, the days are getting shorter and most students are heading back in school. So what better time than now to identify this year’s most iconic summer jams?

These 10 sun-drenched summer anthems run the gauntlet from pop songs you couldn’t escape to indie gems that deserve even more attention as we head toward the end of 2014.

What are your favorite summer anthems from 2014? Tell us below in the comments.


Future-Islands

Future Islands – “Seasons (Waiting on You)”

Yes, we all know and love the dance moves of a one Mr. Samuel Harrington at this point. However, once that spectacle wears thin (unlikely), the music of Future Islands is truly amazing, with a lyrical depth that could be lost on a new or casual fan. “You know when people change / They gain a piece but they lose one too” is a pretty damned insightful line for a previously underground new-wave band. Yet, now that they have grown by leaps and bounds in 2014, it’s anyone guess as to how far their stock climbs. -KQ


Iggy

Iggy Azalea – “Fancy” (featuring Charli XCX)

Both Iggy Azalea and Charli XCX seemed to be everywhere this summer. Charli was featured on The Fault in Our Stars soundtrack and Iggy released her newest album The New Classic — But “Fancy” was destined to be a summer anthem. With that beat and catchy lyrics like “I’m so fancy / Can’t you taste this gold?”, plus a music video throwback to the movie Clueless, it is no surprise that we all got a whole lot fancier this summer. -KB


Nico-and-Vinz

Nico and Vinz – “Am I Wrong”

Though originally released in April 2013 when the act went by the name Envy, this track became a massive export for the Norwegian duo known as Nico & Vinz in the summer of 2014. The late success of this song was credited to it’s airy guitar vibe coupled with startling pop vocals peppered with just enough danceability to be remixed by every producer under the sun. “Am I Wrong” also holds the record for the most ‘Shazammed’ song of the summer, not to mention it’s been played on Spotify well over 100 million times. It’s hard to deny that this track was one of the most popular songs of the summer…I mean, am I wrong? -KQ


lana-del-rey

Lana Del Rey – “West Coast”

The hypnotic and moody “West Coast” is the perfect accompaniment to a bonfire on the beach on a warm summer night. And despite the fact that I’ve never heard anyone in California say, “Down on the west coast, they’ve got a saying / If you’re not drinking, then you’re not playing,” it’s still a beautifully dark song that shows off a new side to Lana Del Rey, and a moodier side to summer. -KB


Caribou

Caribou – “Can’t Do Without You”

Though this summer hit wasn’t slathered all over popular airwaves, it did however, make the summer playlist of many savvy music fans. Dan Snaith’s return to the studio, and the stage, has been welcomed with enthusiasm, and this premier new track had all the elements to thrill. Rolling waves of warm, bassy synths lightly pummel the listener into one seriously psyched-out coma. Each element fits neatly into the other – a characteristic Snaith honed on his previous release, Swim. His subsequent return to stage received accolades at FYF Fest, and his devoted fans are hoping for a tour in the near future. -KQ


Sia

Sia – “Chandelier”

“Chandelier” celebrates (and regrets) those classic moments of summer debauchery, contrasting feelings of uncontrollable angst with the unconscious process slowly losing control. But if the original is too moody for you, don’t fret. The Plastic Plates remix of “Chandelier” kept us on the dance floor all summer long. And when that chorus comes in, Sia’s powerhouse vocals hit hard. This was one that we were all belting out after we’d had a few: “I’m gonna swing from the chandelier, from the chandelier / I’m gonna live like tomorrow doesn’t exist, like it doesn’t exist.” -KB


Lorde

Lorde – “Tennis Court”

While Lorde’s ‘honeymoon’ in the industry is now over, the young Kiwi has proven that she is no one-hit-wonder. Once the dust from “Royals” and “Team” had settled, “Tennis Court” off of Pure Heroine took the spotlight this summer. This song found, and continues to find, a comfortable home on various FM outlets as its dreamy adult-contemprary vibe exhibits a wide range of appeal. The track was further bolstered this summer by a stellar remix by the fellow Oceanian we all know as Flume. -KQ


Sam-Smith

Sam Smith – “Stay With Me”

Sam Smith is a force to be reckoned with. “Stay With Me” starts as piano-soul and then builds to a gospel chorus that displays the British crooners powerful and soulful voice. As many have pointed out this year, “Stay With Me” has a strong resemblance to Tom Petty’s “Won’t Back Down”, but the similarity has mattered to few as “Stay With Me” is one of those songs that can bounce around the brain for hours. It’s interesting to note that Sam Smith’s collaboration with Disclosure, “Latch”, was released in 2012, yet this was another song of the summer in 2014 due to Smith’s meteoric rise in popularity. Also, Smith lit up the airwaves as the featured voice on Naughty Boy’s “La La La”. If you hadn’t heard of Sam Smith before summer began, you know him now. -KB


calvin-harris

Calvin Harris – “Summer”

Besides the obvious inclusion due to the the title, “Summer” quickly rose to be the club anthem of summer 2014. Similar to fellow mega-hit, “Feel So Close”, we see Harris returning to the vocal duties on his own track, which has shown to be successful. Sure, it’s not the most ambitious track of the summer, but it’s hard to ignore the far-reaching nature of the club hit, especially in a time of massive growth in popularity for the lifestyle surrounding club culture. Oh yeah, Calvin was also named as Forbes’ highest paid “Electronic Cash Kings” making some $46 million dollars in the past year. -KQ


ariana-grande

Ariana Grande – “Problem” (featuring Iggy Azalea)

Ariana Grande is no stranger to summer anthems. Getting her start on Broadway and Nickelodeon, Grande stepped on the scene last year in a big way with “The Way”, and she’s at it again. This time she teamed up with Iggy Azalea as the two delivered “Problem”, which blends together Grande’s many influences and her Mariah-esque vocals quite smoothly. This record-breaking summer anthem of 2014 is likely the most popular song of the year. -KB

Disclosure’s ‘Wild Life’ invades the Greek

Disclosure_JAMES3Photos by Sam Heller & James Nagel // Written by Molly Kish & Mike Frash //

Disclosure‘s “Wild Life 2014” with Claude VonStroke vs. Justin Martin, Kaytranada, Bishop Nehru //
Greek Theatre – U.C. Berkeley
April 18th, 2014 //

Dance shows have been few and far between at U.C. Berkeley’s Greek Theater over the years (Daft Punk & Amon Tobin are among the few electronic shows that have happened at the Greek), but one of the most popular and influential dance acts on the planet, Disclosure, headlined a mini-one-day-fest dubbed “Wild Life” at the intimate theatre Friday, and the name ended up matching the scene appropriately.

Disclosure3_SAM

Neon-wear was kept to a minimum as the audience appeared to be more “Yuma” than “Sahara” tent in nature, which makes sense given the IDM over EDM artist curation of the evening. The inner-bowl floor section of the sold out Greek was pretty much at maximum capacity by 7:30pm, and it continued to compress all night while the corners of the seating area and grass section were vacant. It seems most dance music enthusiasts will defer to bass over space every time.

17-year-old rapper & producer Bishop Nehru got things going with a brief, scorching set. Kaytranada then took over on the decks with his hip-hop oriented sound patterns, offering a flavor of trap that’s far from abrasive, mixing repetitive melodies with garage drum & bass. Once the sun began set, it was Claude VonStroke & Justin Martin’s turn, and unsurprisingly, things got a bit dirty.

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SF-based Dirtybird founder VonStroke and partner in crime Martin joined together for a set marketed as “Claude VonStroke vs. Justin Martin”, but the set hardly felt back to back due to its unified focus. The performance was well-paced and diverse in its curation while consistently staying within the ethos of the Dirtybird backbone — playful, minimal tech-house. The volume was teasingly-low to begin the set, eliciting a “turn that shit up” chant from the rabid shoulder-to-shoulder floor crowd. Within minutes, the sound equalized and the full energy of the theater got on the train for the duration of a fun, bouncy set, something that was mentioned as a “dream come true.”

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Disclosure finally took to the stage, kicking off their set full-force with the crowd-stirring remix of “F for You”, accompanied by CGI Mary J. Blige on back-up vocals. Maintaining the energy percolating in the crowd, the duo rolled rolled right into the breakout hit off Settle, “When a Fire Starts to Burn”. Igniting the amphitheater into a dancing frenzy, everyone from the ground-floor pit to the hillside above chanted along with the lively chorus, mesmerized by the band’s intense light show. Utilizing the unique proximities of the outdoor venue, Disclosure brought their stunning festival stage design and atmospheric optics with them to the Greek.

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Aside from their worldwide hit singles, Disclosure played several deeper cuts off of their 2012 EP The Face, including “Tenderly” and “Flow” along with their own remix of “Running”, their 2011 collaboration with Jessie Ware. With several performers both touring through the Bay Area and on layover between weekend sets at the Indio Polo Fields, murmurs of surprise guests circulated heavily leading up to this showcase. Nearing the end of their set, the crowd grew antsy in anticipation, waiting to hear two of the largest hits off of the band’s platinum full length debut. Promising the captivated crowd a few more songs to conclude their epic set, Disclosure broke into an encore sing along of “Help Me Lose My Mind”, and a live-vocal final song featuring special guest Sam Smith on “Latch,” which caused the entire crowd go out on a wild, extremely loud note.

It’s refreshing to witness intelligent dance music prospering, playing to an enthusiastic & packed Greek Theater Berkeley. Disclosure are revamping contemporary dance music by repurposing past dance elements into poppy, progressive packages, influencing mainstream music in a meaningful way.

Outside Lands 2014 daily lineup highlights

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Outside Lands Music and Arts Festival //
Golden Gate Park – San Francisco
August 8th-10th, 2014 //

So, three-day tickets for Outside Lands Music and Arts Festival sold out in record time. Now’s your chance to snag single-day passes for SF’s premier music festival. Get ready: tickets go on sale Thursday, April 17th at 10 a.m.

Still choosing which day might be best for you? Here’s our take on the headliner options, along with choice picks and reasons to get there early this August in Golden Gate Park.

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Friday, August 8th

HEADLINER OPTIONS: Kanye West Vs. Arctic Monkeys (or Disclosure)

Yeezus himself will handle headlining duties on day one, but the real question is whether or not Arctic Monkeys or Disclosure will helm Twin Peaks come nightfall. Both acts are worthy of a headlining slot — time will tell.

CHOICE PICKS:

Run the Jewels: El-P + Killer Mike , “Rap’s most dangerous Duo”, are returning to SF after their game changing shows last year at the Independent. Expect top notch beats over future-forward production. In a perfect world they would open for West.



Phosphorescent: Matthew Houck’s understated, twisted take on indie rock is refreshingly breathtaking, exemplified most strikingly by the majestic “Song for Zula”:

Holy Ghost!: Ready for a disco-dance party fed by instrumentals? Yes you are. One of our favorite acts from the last year will set Golden Gate park ablaze.



DIGGING DEEP: (reasons to get there early)

• Mikal Cronin
• Greensky Bluegrass
• Typhoon
• Bear Hands

THE VERDICT: Eclectic with as many rap options as dance choices.

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Saturday, August 9th

HEADLINER OPTIONS: Tom Petty & The Heartbreakers vs. Macklemore & Ryan Lewis

This one’s going to be a pretty simple choice for most folks — the classic rock singalongs versus the contemporary pop-rap anthems. These headliners starkly contrast from one another.

CHOICE PICKS:

SBTRKT: Known to perform with iconic tribal masks, Aaron Jerome fuses innovative electronic production with drums, synth, keys & live singing, usually with help from touring partner Sampha. SBTRKT’s new EP Transitions delves into icy-instrumental territory.



Atmosphere: Slug and Ant are back this year, and they’ve got a new song entitled “Kanye West”, which doesn’t go after the Day 1 headliner, but it does address hip-hop crowd interactions in a playful, positive way.



Tycho: Scott Hansen is as much a visual artist as he is a musician — his projected imagery melds simple geometry and super slow-mo romanticism and works in hand with his newly cemented band’s ambient, yet driving beats. This one deserves a night time slot, say closing down the Panhandle Stage?



DIGGING DEEP: (reasons to get there early)

• Woods
• Jagwar Ma
• Valerie June
• Trails and Ways

THE VERDICT: Save for a handful of rowdy spots (Macklemore, Duck Sauce, Capital Cities), the offerings are relatively mellow.

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Sunday, August 10th

HEADLINER OPTIONS: The Killers vs. Tiësto (or The Flaming Lips)

These two options to end the weekend are, once again, clear cut. But here’s hoping Ranger Dave harkens back to the early years and offers a third headliner option in The Flaming Lips. Their drone-psyche spectacle of a freak out deserves darkness and would offer an incredible third option.

CHOICE PICKS:

Cut Copy: Every time these electronic-oriented Australians swing through the Bay Area, we’ll be there. Dan Whitford & Co. will make you dance and reach for the sky.



Lykke Li: The Swedish Songstress is returning to the touring circuit this year, and her first offerings from her forthcoming LP I Never Learn are more sedated than swirling. Li’s ownership of the stage and visceral passion request your attendance.



Flume: Skyrocketing electronic-music amalgamator Harley Streten creates big, bold beats centered by a chill tone. Since releasing his self-titled LP to worldwide acclaim in 2012, he’s brought in a host of top level rhymers to give the music new meaning and fresh life (listen below). We’re excited to see how this influences his live show.



DIGGING DEEP: (reasons to get there early)

• Gold Panda
• Courtney Barnett
• Jonathan Wilson
• Tumbleweed Wanderers

OVERALL VIBE: Sunday has a lot of high-decibel acts. A good day for dance enthusiasts.

Check out our Outside Lands 2014 playlist:

OL 2014 Daily Lineups

Five Outside Lands trends in 2014

Outside Lands 2014Photos by Marc Fong // Written by Mike Frash & Kevin Quandt //

Outside Lands Music and Arts Festival //
Golden Gate Park – San Francisco
August 8th-10th, 2014 //

The lineup for the seventh annual Outside Lands Music and Arts Festival, taking place August 8th-10th in San Francisco’s Golden Gate Park, was announced Tuesday. Headliners Kanye West, Tom Petty & the Heartbreakers and The Killers were the focus of the many knee-jerk reactions, but what does the lineup say as a whole? Here are five trends we’ve spotted.

Three-day passes for the festival go on sale Thursday, April 10th at 10 a.m.

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1. RAP IS REPRESENTED MORE THAN EVER
Outside Lands missed out on the OutKast nostalgia sweepstakes, but the far more controversial (and relevant), Yeezus has been crowned as the first rap headliner in the festival’s history (see below). Beastie Boys were slotted to headline the festival in 2009, and they sadly had to pull out due to Adam Yauch’s cancer diagnosis. Tenacious D ultimately became the headliner over M.I.A. The Bay Area doesn’t attract an abundance of hip-hop or rap in general, yet many in the SF music community have wondered when Outside Lands, now a top national festival, would get into the game. El-P and Killer Mike, one of most dynamic music duos in years, are working on a follow-up to their incredible Run the Jewels debut and are sure get Golden Gate Park pumped. Macklemore & Ryan Lewis performed at noon in 2011 at Outside Lands, and since then, they own four major singles and seemingly sell out every show they perform. But they are dangerously within the range of overexposure, and since winning “Best Rap Album” at the Grammys over Kendrick Lamar (and Macklemore felt the need to text-apologize to Lamar), some music fans are out for vitriolic blood. That said, Macklemore’s impact on the popular music landscape is undeniable. Atmosphere, Aer and Watsky, also successful suburban-oriented spitters in their own right, are also on the bill this year.

2. KANYE WEST IS AS DIVISIVE A FIGURE AS EVER
Reaction to Kanye West as the top headliner was distinctively negative Tuesday, at least from the loudest people. West is at the peak of his career, releasing two of the most essential albums of the past five years with Yeezus and My Beautiful Dark Twisted Fantasy. The mega-narcissistic artist of a generation is already busy working on a follow-up to be produced by Q-Tip and Rick Rubin, and it may be out before Outside Lands in August. Odds are Yeezus will pull back from minimalist trap production and go back to his soul-sampling roots to cast a wider net. West has won over music critics with his recent boundary-pushing efforts, but the question becomes, can he avoid a Kardashian-enhanced mainstream backlash bigger than the “Swifting” he pulled at the MTV Video Music Awards? Our money is on ‘Ye.

3. THE FIRST REPEAT HEADLINER
Now in its seventh year, Outside Lands has finally reached the point when we see our first repeat headliner in the form of classic rock demigod, Tom Petty and his band the Heartbreakers. Having played on the second day of the inaugural year to a healthy-sized crowd, Petty worked through some technical errors with a set heavy on his standout hits from the past decades. A new release and tour recently announced lead us to think that Mr. Charlie T. Wilbury is primed to have a big second half of 2014.

4. A SLIGHT SHIFT IN ELECTRONIC MUSIC CURATION
One thing that Showbams noticed when culling through the lineup was the inclusion of slightly more progressive EDM. What was once a genre more reserved for Treasure Island Music Festival is making its way to Golden Gate Park, hoping to turn some folks onto a newer style of electronic production. This new shift is mainly represented by Disclosure, Flume, SBTRKT and Gold Panda. Each act brings a quality that is slightly out of the “dance music” box, whether it’s Disclosure’s 2-step-garage sound or Gold Panda’s experimental beat production. Even after all these years, Another Planet and Superfly keeps us on our toes.

5. THE MOST ECLECTIC LINEUP YET
Outside Lands has always basked in musical diversity, and this notion is true now more than ever. As our collective access to music becomes easier and more plentiful, so does our acceptance of a greater variety of genres. In one weekend, festivalgoers will bounce to Big Freedia, get rural with Kacey Musgraves and dance with Duck Sauce. Whether it’s folk, EDM, hip-hop, indie rock, country or soul, Outside Lands’ eclectic lineup suits the integrity and character of SF and the Bay Area.

Follow our Outside Lands 2014 playlist on Spotify.

Outside Lands

Coachella 2014 lineup: Emerging artists, throwback acts & potential collaborations

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Coachella Valley Music and Arts Festival //
Empire Polo Club – Indio, CA
April 11th-13th & April 18th-20th, 2016 //

2014 is officially in full swing and the impending festival season is on the horizon, especially now that the Coachella lineup has been released. Goldenvoice has done it again with their unique mix of era, genre and relevance which seems to excite and disappoint the eager masses in equal fashion.

The top of the lineup is decisively more pop-oriented than years past with Ellie Goulding, Pharrell Williams, Lorde, Foster the People, Zedd and Lana Del Rey receiving marquee billing. But beyond the headliners, Coachella 2014 offers essential throwback acts, emerging artists ready to blow up, a wide variety of dance options and a handful of collaboration opportunities.

Let’s dig into this monster and extract some musical gold.

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The Headliners

An OutKast reunion would have been more thrilling if the news hadn’t leaked over a month ago (though you can’t always believe the rumor mill), but this is a surprise nonetheless as Andre 3000 had shown little interest or optimism in interviews over the past half-decade. Either way Big Boi and Dre will bring their historically high-energy performance to a ton of new fans. “B.O.B.”, “Roses” and “Ms Jackson” are sure to be highlights of the set.

Muse is one of the biggest bands in the world, this is a cold hard fact. They have plugged away at their 21st Century take on soaring arena-rock and eventually made their way to the top with bombastic live shows, catchy songs and generally doing their own thing. Will the band try to bring their massive UK arena stage to Indio? 

Yes, Arcade Fire was another act that wasn’t a far reach based upon current tour route, but nevertheless they will close out the event with great grandeur. May be hard to top their big 2010 performance, but sparks are sure to shoot from the stage while playing the more upbeat Reflektor tracks. I am not holding my breath on an appearance by the Thin White Duke, but hope I’m wrong.


The Throwbacks

The Replacements took the stage for the first time in 22 years over the summer at various incarnations of Riot Fest. Well, now the West Coast gets a taste of Paul Westerberg and Tommy Stinson’s authoritative alternative rock, and this set is sure to be one of the bigger ‘reunion’ sets on the bill.

Roxy Music may not be reuniting this year, but the insanely unique vocal stylings of Bryan Ferry are sure to excite fans that have been visiting the Empire Polo Fields since it’s incarnation some 15 years ago. Is Goldenvoice starting to pander to the aging, original Coachella demographic?

Pet Shop Boys aren’t only still relevant, but have been killing it on the road the past few years, so it’s no surprise that we see the duo of Neil Tennant and Chris Lowe billed high on Saturday. Their Kraftwerk-esque stage show will be a treat to multiple generations of fans, especially during booming hits like “West End Girls”. 

Other acts that will appeal more to the Generation Xers will be the Toy Dolls, The Afghan Whigs, and Motörhead.


Emerging Artists

British psych rock group Temples only formed in mid 2012, but almost immediate support from the blogosphere and supporting Primal Scream, Kasabian, Beady Eye & Tame Impala on tour throughout 2013 only helped gain traction. And if you are a fan of Tame Impala, be sure to catch this hyper-buzzy act for their first West Coast show. Their stock should rise quickly as their debut LP Sun Structures releases February 10th.



It has now become a tradition for at least one member of the Odd Future clan to be represented on the bill since their debut, and this year the title goes to producing duo Syd the Kid and Matt Martians as The Internet. Their take on trip-hop and electronic soul is a refreshing breath of air for the LA collective as Syd moves from behind the decks to feature her lovely vocals at the forefront. Sure to turn a few heads.



Enigmatic trio Factory Floor bathe in drone and noise, ultimately outputting sound somewhere between minimalist techno and experimental house. Releasing their self-titled debut LP in 2013 through DFA, Factory Floor is relatively popular overseas, yet the dance outfit is on the bottom line of the poster for Sunday. The London-based act might offer a good reason to get to the Polo Fields early on day three.



Laura Mvula may not be a name you are familiar with, but she has made waves the past year in her native UK as her debut album peaked nicely on the charts, and she received a solid slot at Glastonbury. Her straight-ahead take on soul jazz shows great promise both in the studio and on the larger stage as she bursts out of the jazz club into the spotlight. 


Coming Out West

The Knife will be bringing their dynamic, even head-scratching stage show to the desert for 2 weekends of artsy weirdness. Though, for all intents and purposes, we have no idea which show the Swedish duo will bring to us. One thing is for sure, it won’t be like anything you have experienced before.

Apparently Jeff Mangum enjoyed his trip to Indio last year, because this year he is bringing the old band out. West Coast music fans have been waiting patiently for their taste of the reunited Neutral Milk Hotel, and it wasn’t a huge surprise that they’d be on the bill based upon tour schedule. Alas, hipsters young and old can rejoice in a stay at the hippest ‘hotel’ in the valley.

Sweden’s mysterious band named GOAT will be finally reaching the shores of the Pacific with their characteristic take on ‘world music.’ These guys are truly thinking outside the box with a breathtaking approach to experimental rock, and their live performance follows suit. The band has been in some sort of formation for over the past 30 to 40 years with rotating members, but have only recently been viewed on the world stage. 


Possible Collaborations

Robin Thicke (Not Daft Punk) with Pharrell Williams on Saturday
Pharrell Williams has pretty high billing this year, but in many ways he deserves it. He was featured on the two biggest pop hits of 2013, and if anyone is known for collaborating with a wide variety of artists, it’s the N.E.R.D. frontman. Fool us once (Phoenix last year), shame on you, fool us twice…just don’t count on Daft Punk and Niles Rodgers showing up to perform “Get Lucky” and “Lose Yourself to Dance”. Daft Punk’s confirmed appearance at the Grammy Awards in late January could change this outlook, but a Robin Thicke supported “Blurred Lines” seems more likely. It also wouldn’t be surprising to see special appearances from Snoop Dogg, Pusha T or maybe even Madonna.

Blood Orange (Dev Hynes) with Solange on Saturday
NYC’s own Blood Orange made a big push to finish out 2013 and he was nicely rewarded with a set that is sure to be well packed for this buzzy tropi-pop musician. Hynes worked with Solange on her 2012 EP Losing You, but the extent of his production work on the record became a source of contention in November as both artists took to twitter beef about Hynes’ role. Both Solange and Hynes are performing Saturday, so might this be a good time for them to kiss and makeup on stage?

AlunaGeorge with Disclosure on Sunday
Disclosure, returning for their second straight year, might be the only dance act to perform outside the tents. Last year, Jessie Ware joined Guy and Howard Lawrence to sing “Confess To Me”, and this year Aluna Francis from AlunaGeorge will appear to perform the smash hit “White Noise”. Lock it in.


EDM

As has been the trend for Coachella, more emphasis has been put onto EDM, and with the addition of the Yuma Tent last year, Goldenvoice has been able to book all the big guys for the kiddies and all the OG underground acts for the “adults.”

Calvin Harris, Skrillex and Fatboy Slim represent some of the biggest names in the genre and are sure to grab some of the biggest crowds in the Sahara Tent. On the other hand, Yuma will have some treats in the form of the Crosstown Rebels (Damian Lazarus, Art Department, Maceo Plex) as well as Scuba and (hopefully) French legend, Laurent Garnier.

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Showbams’ top tracks of 2013

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Sometimes the more music you listen to, the feeling of missing out on a song or an album can make you feel a little neurotic. You simply can’t give every piece of good music it’s proper due. So when it comes to picking your favorite songs, a safe bet is to pick the songs that not only soundtracked your year but also helped define it.

Showbams presents our Contributor top tracks of 2013. What are your favorite tracks of this dwindling year? Holler with links in the comment section…


James Blake at Treasure Island Music Festival 10/19. Photo by Marc Fong.

James Blake at Treasure Island Music Festival 10/20. Photo by Marc Fong.

Mike Frash // Founder, Editor, Columnist // @MikeFrash

01. James Blake – “Retrograde”
“Retrograde” perfectly represents the state of music in 2013, providing an amalgamation of cutting edge electronic, bass & R&B sensibilities. Also, the track is hauntingly memorable — How many contemporaries can use their pitch-shifting croon-hum as a low melodic layer like this? Lyrically, manipulative seduction is the center piece as Blake propositions his subject, asking to “show me where you fit.” Retrograde means ‘moving backwards’, and the theme is splendidly represented in the song’s payoff through elongated synth that modulates enough to sound like slow degradation.


02. Disclosure – “When A Fire Starts To Burn”
The mantra of the year, “When A Fire Starts To Burn” can ignite a party or help work get done faster. Somehow the motivational speech sample never tires, and it’s one of the only samples on Settle, proving the keen production sense Guy and Howard Lawrence have ingrained in them. The simple four on the floor house beat slightly evolves every 16 bars, allowing the sample to dominate throughout. An instant classic, it’s a track that uses long-used underground themes and brings them to the forefront as Disclosure continues to explode with popularity.


03. Arcade Fire – “Afterlife”
The penultimate song from Reflektor explicitly stares death in the face and dares you to live. More than any other song on the record, “Afterlife” successfully digs into the idea of what happens when we die in Arcade Fire’s serious, intense style. The song offers multiple rhetorical questions that function as a challenge. Our time is finite, and love should be the focus. “It’s just an afterlife with you…”


04. Foals – “Milk & Black Spiders”
So much of Foals’ music is about being on the verge of total loss, although the message is almost always vague. A far cry from yelling at “Cassius” that she’s “second best”, “Milk & Black Spiders” centers on the idea of confidence in finding the right mate and openly admitting it. Found in an album full of potential top tracks, this cut contains the best moment of the album at about 3:30. Is it hyperbole to consider this one of the most euphoric crescendo of all time?


05. my bloody valentine – “in another way”
To be truly understood, my bloody valentine needs to be felt, not only heard. To experience MBV live or in the comfort of your living space like the Maxwell Guy is encouraged (although it may be too late to catch them live). The sound is jarring at first, but upon adapting to the volume level, “in another way” transforms into magnificent hypnotism once the first major chords hit. It’s like a persistent, awesome airplane is taking off in your face, in a very good way…

06. Baths – “No Eyes”
07. Vampire Weekend – “Hannah Hunt”
08. Kanye West feat. Frank Ocean – “New Slaves”
09. The National – “I Need My Girl”
10. Rhye – “Open”
11. Volcano Choir – “Byegone”
12. Phosphorescent – “Song For Zula”
13. Run the Jewels – “Job Well Done (feat. Until the Ribbon Breaks)”
14. Mount Kimbie – “Made To Stray”
15. Kurt Vile – “Wakin on a Pretty Day”
16. Darkside – “Paper Trails”
17. Autre Ne Veut – “Play by Play”
18. Jon Hopkins – “Breath This Air”
19. Haim – “Falling”
20. Bill Callahan – “Small Plane”


Vampire Weekend at Fox Theater Oakland 4/17. Photo by Marc Fong.

Vampire Weekend at Fox Theater Oakland 4/17. Photo by Marc Fong.

Molly Kish // Artist Relations Manager, Columnist // @MollyKish

01. Vampire Weekend – “Unbelievers”
Far from the New England prep rock of their previous two albums, the boys of Vampire Weekend explore new territory both in songwriting and soundscape on their 2013 release Modern Vampires of the City. This breakout pop gem explores the frivolity of faith, dissecting spirituality in the context of a contemporary domestic relationship. Paying homage to blissful rockabilly melodies executed by such greats as Buddy Holly and the Crickets and Jerry Lee Lewis, Vampire Weekend put a current spin on an archetypal pop formula, composing easily one of the best tracks of 2013.


02. Big Black Delta – “Side of the Road”
Jonathan Bates, of Mellowdrone fame, delivers one of the catchiest terrestrial dance jams of 2013 with the lead single off of his debut album, Big Black Delta. A solo project, Bates performs the entire song through layers of modified vocals, electronic improvisation and innovatively tracked percussion. He succeeds in developing an addictive one man dance party that’s just as entertaining to see live as it is to listen to on record and calls for near immediate loops of repetitive play.


03. Disclosure -“F For You”
UK sibling duo Disclosure deliver one of the hardest hitting and simplistically rendered club hits of 2013 with “F For You.” Stripping away frivolous electronic production, they find success in a modest deep house composition featuring a pulsating baseline, repetitive chorus and a stylistically pert, finger-snapping beat. The song’s sassy subject matter and infectious groove are bound to get any dance floor moving and set the song apart as a standout hit on the band’s 2013 debut album.


04. Yeah Yeah Yeahs – “Sacrilege”
Departing from their traditionally art punk mold, the Yeah Yeah Yeah’s burst back on the scene with the first single off of their fourth studio album, Mosquito. Highlighting rooted soul riffs and Karen O’s bluesy wails, the beat driven arrangement pays homage to the band’s time spent writing and recording in New Orleans. The track in a fiery choral cameo by the Broadway Inspirational Voices Choir and serves as the band’s rousing call to arms for their alternative counterparts. The song exemplifies the band’s successful feat in retaining some of the genres fearlessness and artistic credulity as well as their willingness to step outside of the convoluted mainstream box.


05. Holy Ghost! – “Dumb Disco Ideas”
Often compared to fellow DFA records’ flagship artist LCD Soundsystem, Holy Ghost! assumed the label’s inherent responsibility of producing the next wave of synth-pop super hits with their 2013 album Dynamics. The most comparable track, coming in the form of this funk laden jam, draws directly from the genre-defining record label’s indisputable formula for discotheque domination. Rhythmically resonating with old and new fans alike, Holy Ghost! seamlessly transitioned into their new reign of the DFA universe with this stand out party anthem that floored live music venues and festival stages, all summer long.

06. Daft Punk – “Get Lucky”
07. Atoms for Peace – “Default”
08. Arcade Fire – “Here Comes the Nighttime”
09. Toro Y Moi – “Say That”
10. Empire of the Sun – “Alive”
11. Cut Copy – “Free Your Mind”
12. STRFKR – “While I’m Alive”
13. Jagwar Ma – “Man I Need”
14. Phoenix – “S.O.S. in Bel Air”
15. Washed Out – “All I Know”
16. Kanye West – “Black Skinhead”
17. CSS – “Into the Sun”
18. Devendra Banhart – “You’re Fine Petting Duck”
19. Wild Belle – “Another Girl”
20. The Strokes – “One Way Trigger”


Palma Violets at The Independent 4/23. Photo by James Nagel.

Palma Violets at The Independent 4/23. Photo by James Nagel.

Kevin Quandt // Assistant Editor, Columnist // @KJQuandt

01. Daft Punk – “Get Lucky”
When the ‘Song of the Summer’ (sorry “Blurred Lines”) is as thoroughly enjoyable as this interstellar first single off of RAM, you know you won’t get nearly as tired of it as past summertime jams. “Get Lucky” is still is as fresh as the first time it was debuted on a Saturday night at Coachella, eventually ruling airwaves across multiple genres all over the globe. This track has it all; from a space disco groove that rivals any legendary disco jam to the sultry vocals of the multi-talented Pharrell Williams. Was it the single that most fans were expecting? Probably not, but lends even more to the production and writing talent of these two mysterious French robots that most of us know by the name of Daft Punk. Though we haven’t seen how it’ll shake out on stage, if ever, it is sure to be on repeat for the foreseeable future. 


02. Foxygen – “No Destruction”
What a fun slice of American tinged psych-pop these young San Franciscans delivered this year. Sure this band has had a rough year on the road, but these issues never diminished their stellar sophomore release, spotlighted by this rousing tale of youthful urban life and love. Dylan-esque crooning coupled with phrasing that would make Ray Davies blush lends a nod to some of rocks legends in the form of “No Destruction”. Every listen also shines more light on the storyboard that these lyrics build, adding another key component to Foxygen’s success.  


03. Foals – “My Number”
I’m not sure exactly when Foals became masters of catchy song structures, but many are happy to hear this British act upping their game to dazzling new heights. The formula of placing the hook early in the track is part of the key, and this is not to mention the amazing returns to said hook while balancing afro-inspired guitar lines, piercing melodies and unpredictable rhythm shifts. “My Number” signifies the next era for Foals while displaying they are ready to leave the clubs to larger theaters while bearing the banner of Bono-esque grandeur in the face of a changing landscape in popular rock music. 


04. King Krule – “Baby Blue”
Young Archie Marshall has come along way for a 19 year old Brit with a refreshing spin on bedroom-produced darkwave music. Though in all honesty, King Krule can not be defined as he bends genre lines all over his debut LP, 6 Feet Beneath the Moon. Archie’s unique vocal stylings paint a brilliantly simple portrait of love lost over a stripped down production that is akin to the muted style that launched acts like the XX and Toro Y Moi. The baritone delivery pitches and bends on the singer’s whim over gentle guitar flourishes and minimal beat production equally something fully unique. In an age of EDM maximalism, it’s tracks like this that demonstrate the idea of ‘less is more.’ 


05. London Grammar – “Hey Now”
London Grammar may not be an artist that the majority are familiar with, but a head-turning debut LP released in the fall has garnered this trip-hop trio much deserved attention. Hannah Reid’s vocals soar all over this chilled-out track that slowly builds to a mellow peak that could remind you of early Zero 7 (the Sia years). A feature on Disclosure’s album closer and vocal comparisons to Jessie Ware are promising signs for these up-and-comers that understand restraint can be extremely powerful as demonstrated in this powerful single.  

06. Arcade Fire – “Afterlife”
07. Parquet Courts – “Stoned and Starving”
08. Palma Violets – “Best of Friends”
09. Kanye West feat. Frank Ocean – “New Slaves”
10. Jake Bugg – “Lightning Bolt”
11. A$AP Ferg feat. A$AP Rocky – “Shabba”
12. HAIM – “The Wire”
13. Queens of the Stone Age – “My God is the Sun”
14. Vampire Weekend – “Diane Young”
15. The National – “Humiliation”
16. Ducktails – “The Flower Lane”
17. Deerhunter – “Dream Captain”
18. Jon Hopkins – “Open Eye Signal”
19. iceage – “Ecstasy”
20. White Fence – “Pink Gorilla”


Holy Ghost! at Treasure Island Music Festival 10/19.

Holy Ghost! at Treasure Island Music Festival 10/19.

Pete Mauch // Festival Manager & Columnist // @PeteMauch

01. Daft Punk – “Get Lucky”    
The summer anthem is just too good to be denied the number one spot. With Nile Rodgers laying down the funk chords on guitar and Pharrell Williams’s resurgence back on the scene with smooth croons, it gives the song has some serious lasting power.


02. Kurt Vile – “Wakin On a Pretty Day”
Best morning song ever besides Dylan’s “New Morning”? I absolutely love waking up to this song — it’s bright, catchy guitar licks are matched perfectly with Vile’s earnest lyrics about solitude, yet he’s optimistic about this pretty day. 


03. Foals – “My Number”  
This song come firing out of the gates with infectious dance grooves that are nearly impossible to not move your feet to. The hypnotizing multi-guitar work is such a great complement to the vocals on this should-be hit single.


04. Jagwar Ma – “Come Save Me”
If the Beach Boys started to make electrified, psychedelic dance songs then I suspect it would sound a lot like this. These Australian rockers put together one hell of a dream-like track this year.


05. Superhuman Happiness – “Sentimental Pieces”
One of the most fun and creative songs I’ve heard in a long while. The way they combine dance grooves, hand claps, piano work, and some serious vocal harmonizing is quite impressive.

06. Holy Ghost! – “Dumb Disco Ideas”
07. Earl Sweatshirt – “Chum”
08. White Denim – “Pretty Green”
09. Sigur Rós – “Isjaki”
10. Phosphorescent – “Song for Zula”
11. Youth Lagoon – “Mute”
12. Savages – “She Will”
13. Anders Osborne – “Peace”
14. Ty Segall – “Sleeper”
15. Atoms for Peace – “Judge, Jury, and Executioner”
16. Jim James – “Know Til Now”
17. Deerhunter – “Back to the Middle”
18. Johnathon Wilson – “Moses Pain”
19. Bonobo –  “Cirrus”
20. Darkside – “Paper Trails”


Washed Out at First City Festival 8/24. Photo by Marc Fong.

Washed Out at First City Festival 8/24. Photo by Marc Fong.

Kevin Raos // Columnist // @Semirec

01. Vampire Weekend – “Hannah Hunt”
The best song, on perhaps the best album of the year, “Hannah Hunt” is an instant classic. Modern Vampires of the City is littered with tracks that will be considered amongst Vampire Weekend’s best, and “Hannah Hunt” leads the pack. Despite the lack of “quirkiness” that Vampire Weekend is sometimes known for, the track gently builds the listener up to one of the most jubilant climaxes found on any record this year.


02. Youth Lagoon – “Raspberry Cane”
Another song that builds you up and sweeps you off your feet, “Raspberry Cane” is a bright spot on Wondrous Bughouse, a sophomore effort that fell slightly short of expectations. Hauntingly fascinating and beautifully psychedelic, this song takes the listener on a musical journey.  


03. Arcade Fire – “Afterlife”
“Afterlife” is a song that took a few years to see the light of day. When it was released, Win Butler commented on the history of this song, saying it began “with a Haitian percussion loop we recorded way back at the end of the The Suburbs tour and “took a while to get the chorus right.” Enter producer James Murphy and the result is an extremely danceable synth-pop tune that is up there with the year’s pedigree.


04. Rhye – “Open”
Passion oozes from this song. Simple and pure love in it’s most basic form. Lyrics, musicianship and delivery make this track one of the most soothing songs of the year. Turn this on,  embrace those you love, and all will be right in the world if only for a couple minutes.


05. Washed Out – “It All Feels Right”
The title of this song says it best. Washed Out’s sunbathed reverb vibes can instantly transport you to a beach and put a beverage in your hand. Fact. Move aside “Get Lucky”, this was the summer anthem of 2013 on my stereo.

06. Major Lazer – “Get Free”
07. Wild Belle – “Keep You”
08. Holy Ghost! – “Dumb Disco Ideas”
09. Yeah Yeah Yeahs – “Sacrilege”
10. James Blake – “Retrograde”
11. Phosphorescent – “The Quotidian Beasts”
12. Daft Punk – “Instant Crush”
13. Boards of Canada – “Nothing is Real”
14. Mikal Cronin – “Weight”
15. Sigur Rós – “Brennisteinn”
16. Kurt Vile – “Wakin on a Pretty Day”
17. Phoenix – “Trying to Be Cool”
18. Foxygen – “San Francisco”
19. Junip – “Line of Fire”
20. Disclosure – “White Noise (feat. AlunaGeorge)”


Cut Copy at Fox Theater Oakland 11/02. Photo by James Nagel.

Cut Copy at Fox Theater Oakland 11/02. Photo by James Nagel.

Brooks Rocco // Columnist // @brooksrocco

01. Jagwar Ma – “Uncertainty”
In the wholly subjective exercise of selecting a favorite song of a year, one must consider one’s most notable experiences, focusing upon those driven by the most notable soundtracks. 2013’s best dance party, in my little sphere of dominion, was Jagwar Ma’s headlining set at Rickshaw Stop, and it was the song ‘Uncertainty’ that made me most notably lose control of my senses. Even upon sober reflection, the song (defining the tone of the album it appears on) is a sledgehammer of a good time, a song that revels in the Clichés that in an earlier year would have manifested in sardonic irony. It’s finally time to embrace what works, and in doing so, create the future that pushes towards the goal: a musical tribute to our ecstatic humanity, as we remain fueled by uncertainties.


02. Deafheaven – “Dream House”
In some ways, “Dream House” is the end of black metal. It’s been a long time coming though, with American kids raised on the stuff tilting their combo amps backward, screaming their fresh-faced idolatry for the legends that dared to not give a fuck. With the pink Pitchfork kiss of approval, black metal has become another texture in the tech-savvy hipster’s chest, to be yanked out when the time is appropriate (then and only then!). ‘Dream House’ is the black metal song that everyone can agree on. Euronymous is Dead. Long live Black Metal.


03. Cave – “Arrow’s Myth”
Shifting space, coagulating color, sound, motion; breaking barriers, and driving the motorized swirl ever farther, Cave returned in 2013 with some of their most funky and delicately harmonious hues yet. Once again they delivered just the right the stuff we all need—imbalance your chemicals (whatever that means to you), throw on “Arrow’s Myth”, and wrap your head around whatever comes natural. If it feels good, right?


04. Carcass – “A Congealed Clot of Blood”
I got a little worried when I found out Andy Sneap was producing the followup to Carcass’ swan song, Surgical Steel, as said producer is the type of surgeon to sterilize all his instruments thoroughly before performing his delicate incisions. Fortunately, this sublime return to force by the UK legends is necrotising death metal masterpiece; ‘A Congealed Clot of Blood’ worthy amongst their greatest.


05. my bloody valentine – “in another way”
I wasn’t listening to Loveless in the 90’s like it was my religion. In my erumpent musical debut, I was blasting stuff like Emperor, Dissection, Meshuggah; bands louder, noisier, and far, far more unsettling than My Bloody Valentine. But for a lot of people, MBV were the anti-music of their spheres. That said, the night m b v dropped, I got sucked into the tornado along with everyone else.  A cursory pirated listen and I was in. ‘in another way’ was the tune that made me whip out the plastic capital and order the wax. Full disclosure for Mr. Shields: it was that guitar.  How did you…

06. RP Boo – “Invisibu Boogie!”

07. Dispirit – “All Paths End The Same”

08. David Bowie – “Where Are We Now?”

09. Föllakzoid – “9”

10. Foals – “Late Night”

11. Thee Oh Sees – “No Spell”

12. Mikal Cronin – “Shout It Out”

13. The Five Eyes – “HEY HEY NSA (Tinfoil in Every Hat)”

14. The Knife – “Old Dreams Waiting to be Realized”

15. Kanye West – “On Sight”

16. Uncle Acid & The Deadbeats – “Desert Ceremony”

17. Parquet Courts – “Master of My Craft”

18. Cut Copy – “Free Your Mind”

19. Anthroprophh – “Hermit”

20. Telekinesis – “Power Lines”


MS MR at The Independent 6/16. Photo by James Nagel.

MS MR at The Independent 6/16. Photo by James Nagel.

Nikki De Martini // Columnist & Photographer // @SweetSoundBites

01. M.I.A. –  “Y.A.L.A.”
Seducingly rhythmic percussion loops, heavy dropping bass lines and a shining bratty-tude mock US society fads on this effortless dance track from my favorite Sri Lankan West-Londoner. M.I.A.’s signature ballsy Bollywood flavor minus the familiarity of foghorns will make you want to get up and dance before realizing what she’s singing about sets in and when it does, this track gets even better. “Y.A.L.A.” makes me wonder why Interscope Records repeatedly shelved her 4th album for not being “dark” or “controversial” enough.


 
02. RAC Featuring Kelle Okereke and MNDR – “Let Go”
As a fan of MNDR for years and a Bloc Party fan for even longer, this collaborative RAC track won me over since the very first time hearing it — the emotionally charged lyrics paired with it’s uplifting melody just melt into one so well.


 
03. MS MR – “Hurricane”
Easily one of my favorite tracks off of their breakthrough debut album, the first single “Hurricane” showcases the multitude of MS MR’s talents to a tee with rich, relatable lyrics and an underlying electro-pop essence wrapped up and delivered in a neat indie rock fashion.


 
04. Arctic Monkeys – “Do I Wanna Know?”
It’s heavy drums, low bass chords and dirty guitar licks reminiscent of The Black Keys are that draw me to this song. Then the lyrics hit and that was it. Every time I hear this song I turn it up and sing along.


 
05. Schoolboy Q Featuring Kendrick Lamar – “Collard Greens”
The catchy hooks and layered verses are a throw back to old school “dirty” rap yet remain fresh, leaving me hungry for more Kendrick Lamar!  


 
06. Lana Del Rey – “Summertime Sadness” (Cedric Gervais remix)
07. LORDE – “Team”
08. Cage the Elephant – “It’s Just Forever (featuring Alison Mosshart)”
09. Yeah Yeah Yeahs – “Wedding Song”
10. Queens of the Stone Age – “Sat by the Ocean”
11. Jay Z – “Tom Ford”
12. Little Boots – “Strangers”
13. Portugal the Man – “Purple Yellow Red and Blue”
14. VV Brown – “Apple”
15. Sleigh Bells – “Bitter Rivals”
16. Broken Bells – “Holding on for Life”
17. NONONO – “Pumping Blood”
18. CSS – “Hangover”
19. Atlas Genius – “Electric”
20. Smallpools – “Dreaming”


Atoms For Peace at Treasure Island Music Festival 10/19. Photo by Marc Fong.

Atoms For Peace at Treasure Island Music Festival 10/19. Photo by Marc Fong.

Pedro Paredes // Photographer // @pedropar

01. Atoms for Peace – “Before Your Very Eyes”
Every great album needs an opening song worthy of it, and “Before Your Very Eyes” gives just that to the supergroup formed by members of Radiohead (Thom Yorke, Nigel Godrich), Red Hot Chili Peppers (Flea), Beck (Joey Waronker) and Forro in The Dark (Mauro Refosco). With dense, steady percussions, electronic arrangements, a simple guitar section, and the soft sound of Thom Yorke’s voice, this song walks to the beat of life and death, joy and sorrow, and begins the path for one of the best albums of 2013.


02. Vampire Weekend – “Obvious Bicycle”
Vampire Weekend’s first song of their amazing Modern Vampires of the City sets the mood for an album that takes a different route from their previous work, with a warmer, more mature sound. A beautiful song for a beautiful album.   


03. James Blake – “Retrograde”
Melodic Bass Music are the words James Blake chose to describe his work, and “Retrograde” seems to fit that description quite well. It’s a love song for the future, coming from the darkness of the dawn.


03. Nick Cave and the Bad Seeds – “Jubilee Street”
Nick Cave is a natural storyteller that makes use of his musical talent to make any story come alive (his music scores for films like ‘The Assassination of Jesse James’ or ‘The Proposition’ are enough to prove my point)  Jubilee Street starts simple, growing in complexity in the subtlest of ways, beautifully contained under the spell of Nick Cave’s voice.


05. Blood Orange – “It is What it Is”
“It is What it Is” is exactly what it should be — Deliciously elegant, precise, presenting a new version of 80’s pop-reset. This song is the cherry on top of one of the best albums of 2013.

06. Mutual Benefit – “Golden Wake”
07. Arcade Fire – “Here Comes the Night Time”
08. Daft Punk – “Instant Crush”
09. Lorde – “Royals”
10. William Tyler – “Cadillac Dessert”
11. Kurt Vile – “Wakin on a Pretty Day”
12. Phosphorescent – “Ride On/Right On”
13. Deerhunter – “Back to the Middle”
14. Darkside – “Paper Trails”
15. Nine Inch Nails – “Copy of A”
16. Parquet Courts – “Stoned and Starving”
17. Low – “Plastic Cup”
18. Blue Hawaii – “Try To Be”
19. Yeah Yeah Yeahs – “Despair”
20. Foxygen – “No Destruction”

Showbams’ 40 best albums of 2013

Best-Albums-of-2013

“Best of” lists are always subjective, and this one is no anomaly. When it comes to the best albums of any given year, we can most likely agree that the best records are excellent from beginning to end — no “skip ahead” songs — and that groundbreaking new music can emerge from any genre.

At the same time, we imprint music on moments in our lives, and this will always influence personal taste. Combine these past influences with modern streaming capabilities in 2013, where new records are now accessible before an album release date, and our collective creation and criticism of music begins to transform, adapt and influence more rapidly.

Here are our most addictive albums of 2013, the records we couldn’t stop spinning.

01. Arcade FireReflektor
02. DisclosureSettle
03. Atoms For PeaceAmok
04. FoalsHoly Fire
05. Vampire WeekendModern Vampires of the City
06. Daft PunkRandom Access Memories
07. Kurt VileWakin On a Pretty Daze
08. James BlakeOvergrown
09. White DenimCorsicana Lemonade
10. Toro Y MoiAnything In Return

11. RhyeWoman
12. DarksidePsychic
13. Boards of CanadaTomorrow’s Harvest
14. The NationalTrouble Will Find Me
15. My Bloody Valentinem b v
16. Sigur RósKveikur
17. Parquet CourtsLight Up Gold
18. Danny BrownOld
19. Holy Ghost!Dynamics
20. Jagwar MaHowlin

21. Run the Jewels (El-P & Killer Mike) – Run the Jewels
22. Washed OutParacosm
23. ClassixxHanging Gardens
24. Hanni El KhatibHead In The Dirt
25. Queens of the Stone Age…Like Clockwork
26. The StrokesComedown Machine
27. Thee Oh SeesFloating Coffin
28. Volcano ChoirRepave
29. A$AP RockyLONG.LIVE.A$AP
30. Anders OsbornePeace

31. Jon HopkinsImmunity
32. Yeah Yeah YeahsMosquito
33. King Krule6 Feet Beneath The Moon
34. Kanye WestYeezus
35. Mount KimbieCold Spring Fault Less Youth
36. Superhuman Happiness – Hands
37. BonoboThe North Borders
38. Tyler, the CreatorWolf
39. PhoenixBankrupt!
40. PhosphorescentMuchacho


Vampire Weekend at Fox Theater Oakland 4/17. Photo by Marc Fong.


Vampire Weekend at Fox Theater Oakland 4/17. Photo by Marc Fong.

Mike Frash // Founder, Editor, Columnist // @MikeFrash

Vampire WeekendModern Vampires of the City
1The focus on larger themes of mortality and spirituality in Modern Vampires of the City have catapulted this indie group from angst-ridden collegians to mainstream players — and in the process Ezra Koenig and company crafted an American classic. Compulsively listenable, this record matured with age in 2013, just like the artistic path Vampire Weekend seem to be on. The album continuously waxes poetically about death and higher powers, and “Unbelievers” sums it up best: “Girl you and I will die unbelievers, bound to the tracks of the train.” The ambiguousness is biting, as it is tough to tell if the statement is earnest atheism or harsh criticism of Godless existence. In “Step”, we’re told, “Wisdom’s a gift but you’ll trade it for youth, age is an honor it’s still not the truth…we know the true death, the true way of all flesh. Everyone’s dying, but girl – you’re not old yet.” Even “Dianne Young” is a double entendre for ‘dying young’. Every track is filled with high-level substance lyrically, but sonically it’s multi-faceted as well, melding baroque sensibilities and African grooves at a wonderfully variant pace throughout. Ultimately, it’s a supremely empowering coming of age album from Vampire Weekend, one that stares mortality in the face while celebrating time’s finite quality.

Run the Jewels (El-P & Killer Mike)Run the Jewels
2Early in Run The Jewels, Killer Mike announces, “Producer gave me a beat, said it’s the ‘beat of the year’, I said ‘El-P didn’t do it, so get the fuck outa here.’ El-P, the sole producer of rap music’s most dynamic duo, bases his production in captivating weirdness, micro-sampling everything from classic organ to nintendo glitch sounds to electric guitar, building epic beats for Killer Mike & El-P to deliver clever rhymes, based both in reality and playful hyperbole. One of Run The Jewels’ greatest successes is that it can be both funny and deadly serious within the same song, and often within in the same flow or line at times. So motherfuckin’ grimy, “Job Well Done” highlights how successfully dolphin sounds can contrast with aggressive lyricism, for example. Killer Mike broaches serious topics, bringing up the “elephant in the room” whenever possible, and EL-P is hyperactive and light-hearted as he spits his ‘future shit’. Put these two together and you have the best hip hop album in years.

FoalsHoly Fire
3The beauty is in the build with Foals, and that is the case with Holy Fire more than prior album as the UK-based festival-headliners-in-the-making have largely abandoned their post-dance punk sound aesthetic for a more ballad-based approach. Sure, “My Number” and “Providence” continue the upbeat, math rock-dance-freak-outs, but overall Foals have centered their 2013 record around patient song development in order to establish more memorable, ecstatic moments. “Milk & Black Spiders” does just that, taking a full three minutes and forty five seconds to reach it’s blissful summit. “Late Night” is a harrowing slow burner, repeating the line, “Calling out your name,” asking for the subject of the song to “Stay with me.” Lead singer Yannis Philippakis’ impassioned vocals, paired with Foals’ guitar interplay and non-standard rhythms make Foals a unique force in the world of modern rock.

The NationalTrouble Will Find Me
4Matt Berninger has a way with words — who else could make the phrase “full of punks and cannonballers” sound eloquent and measured in the track “I Need My Girl”? The National thrives on non-literal lyricism, but the instrumental elements from The National in Trouble Will Find Me prop the singing up on a pedestal better than prior records. Void of any filler, this contemplative record easily allows the listener to take their own meaning from any given track, applying it internally. The first half impresses quickly with “I Should Live In Salt” through “Sea Of Love”, but it is the second half that solidifies the effort as The National’s best work to date. An album that also gets more addictive with subsequent listens, Trouble Will Find Me works well as both a “pick me up” record and one to embrace life’s good times, an odd duality indeed.

Volcano ChoirRepave
5Who needs Bon Iver when Justin Vernon is making music like he has with The Shouting Matches and Volcano Choir in 2013? Vernon, the creative centerpiece behind Bon Iver, announced while promoting Repave that Volcano Choir is his new band. Arguably, this is a genius move, as Vernon is exhibiting a higher level of confidence and innovation with this possibly permanent collaboration with members of Collections of Colonies of Bees. Repave traverses a path that balances grandiose and minimalism, choosing off-beat, unexpectedly contrasting moments to ‘drop the sound hammer’ in both “Comrade” and “Byegone”. “Drop the sound hammer” refers to the mesmerizing technique Volcano choir uses to quickly transition from falsetto-based minimalist intros into hard-hitting Philip Glass-like synth blasts and authoritative drums. I’m fine with Vernon considering himself a legend, as long as he continues creating music with cryptic, poetic lyrics and the progressive intermingling of intense and soothing sounds.

06. Darkside – Psychic
07. James Blake – Overgrown
08. Arcade Fire – Reflektor
09. Rhye – Woman
10. Disclosure – Settle
11. Kurt Vile – Wakin On a Pretty Daze
12. My Bloody Valentine – m b v
13. Atoms for Peace – Amok
14. Foxygen – We Are The 21st Century Ambassadors of Peace & Magic
15. Washed Out – Paracosm
16. Daft Punk – Random Access Memories
17. Bonobo – The North Borders
18. Phosphorescent – Muchacho
19. Jagwar Ma – Howlin
20. John Vanderslice – Dagger Beach


Atoms For Peace at Treasure Island Music Festival 10/19. Photo by Marc Fong.


Atoms for Peace at Treasure Island Music Festival 10/19. Photo by Marc Fong.

Molly Kish // Artist Relations Manager, Columnist // @MollyKish

Atoms For PeaceAmok
1Alternative Rock super group Atoms for Peace delivered one of the most evocative, skillfully executed and notable debuts of 2013, completely as expected. Bringing together some of the most innovative, iconic and artistically defining tastemakers of the past two decades (most notably Thom Yorke & Flea), Atoms for Peace composed a near-perfect representation of contemporary sound evolution. Touring this past year promoting Amok through intermittent concert dates and festival-headlining performances, Atoms for Peace captivated live audiences on a global scale while generating critical acclaim, and for good reason.

Toro Y MoiAnything in Return
2Drawing artistic influence from elements of 90s dance music while paying homage to the iconic hip hop sounds of the era, Chaz Bundick departed from his signature “chillwave” style to compose his third studio album, Anything in Return. Revisiting harder house elements from his 2010 debut Causers of This, Bundick taps into a funky soundscape filled with intensified vocals and hard hitting jam-based percussion. Paying homage to legendary producer J Dilla, Anything in Return touches upon intimate subject matter while remaining accessibly pop-driven, delivering Bundick’s “biggest sounding” album to date.

DisclosureSettle
3UK sibling duo Disclosure was one of the most successful breakout acts of the past year, largely in part to the global commercial appeal of their debut album, Settle. Mixing the perfect blend of R&B vocals, UK garage, two step and deep house cuts, Settle is a seamless composition of dance floor ready hits. Disclosure’s first full length succeeded in curating a sound both primed for the band’s spellbinding live improvisation and the album’s inevitable mainstream sampling and remixes.

Daft PunkRandom Access Memories
4Preceding its April release date with a show-stopping album trailer debut at Coachella (and nationally syndicated on Saturday Night Live) and a video website series presented by The Creators Project, Daft Punk set the bar early this year for the future of mainstream album promotional campaigns. Defying the expectations of their devoted fan base along with the speculatory opinions of many EDM counterparts, Random Access Memories marks the band’s groundbreaking introduction of live musicians into their otherwise strictly electronic body of work. Their most successful album to date, Random Access Memories is a definitive album that highlights the robots’ personal influence, and the effect is a lasting impact on popular music.

Arcade FireReflektor
5Arcade Fire’s Reflektor serves as a testament to their creative ingenuity as a modern art rock group. Its evolutionary sound was produced by nu-disco vanguard James Murphy and features collaborations with David Bowie, Kid Koala and an armada of additional percussionists and recording personnel. Promoted and released through an ingenious guerrilla marketing campaign, intriguing the attention of a frothing worldwide audience.

06. Vampire Weekend – Modern Vampires of the City
07. Kanye West – Yeezus
08. Washed Out – Paracosm
09. Holy Ghost – Dynamics
10. Phoenix – Bankrupt!
11. Devendra Banhart – Mala
12. Major Lazer – Free The Universe
13. Yeah Yeah Yeahs – Mosquito
14. Starfucker – Miracle Mile
15. Cut Copy – Free Your Mind
16. Franz Ferdinand – Right Thoughts, Right Words, Right Action
17. Classixx – Hanging Gardens
18. The Strokes – Comedown Machine
19. St. Lucia – When The Night
20. Jay Z – Magna Carta


Thee Oh Sees at Phono Del Sol 7/13. Photo by Mike Frash.


Thee Oh Sees at Phono Del Sol 7/13. Photo by Mike Frash.

Kevin Quandt // Assistant Editor, Columnist // @KJQuandt

Parquet CourtsLight Up Gold
1In a year with many strong rookie efforts (Haim, Disclosure, Lorde, etc.), it was this Brooklyn quartet that rejuvenated garage-tinged, punk rock with a blisteringly fierce debut LP, Light Up Gold. Opening track “Master of My Craft” lets us know we are in for one helluva a ride and it doesn’t let up in the least as Andrew Savage belts out anthems full of modern tales of urban decay and the slacker lifestyle. This we do-whatever-the-fuck-we-want mentality was also clearly present on a recently released EP entitled Tally All the Things That You Broke, which was equally as impressive as the full length. Alas, all is not lost when it comes to irreverent rock music in a sea of shiny synths and EDM takeovers. 

My Bloody Valentinem b v
2If this album was a person, it could legally drink in this country. Now, after that fact settles in, we can concentrate on how impressive m b v actually is. Kevin Shields and cohorts took 22 years to deliver this baby and it is chock-full of all the aural beauty that made these shoegaze legends modern rock royalty a couple of decades ago. Standout final track “wonder 2” is a whirling dervish of otherworldly drums, guitars and distorted vocals, slowly building into one serious rapture. Attention to detail is not lost on this album as meticulous craftsmanship is ever-present, especially when listened to fully, or in the distinct ‘3 EP’ structure that m b v is recorded in. All I ask Kevin Shields is that I don’t have to wait till I’m almost 50 years old to hear another new release from My Bloody Valentine.

Arcade FireReflektor
3There’s little surprise that this ‘double’ release ended in my, and many others, top albums list. Why? Because Arcade Fire make great albums, and I enjoy great albums. The grab bag of influences on this album is truly startling and lends much to it’s overall success whether it be deep Haitian rhythms or the the electro-dance production of James Murphy. With so many standout tracks, it really makes you wonder what they are putting in the water up in Canada. “Joan of Arc”, “Normal Person”, “Afterlife” and so many others create something fully unique and fully Arcade Fire. 

Boards of CanadaTomorrow’s Harvest
4It was a bit of a long wait for fans of BoC, but well worth the interesting journey that was to become Tomorrow’s Harvest and it’s unique marketing campaign which precluded the June release. Not much has changed from the ambient electronic soundscapes that put these Scots on the map nearly two decades ago. What makes Boards so significant is their knowledge of analogue gear they use to transform sound into warm ambience that is loaded with emotion, complexity and cinematic themes. Songs like “Nothing Is Real” fully demonstrate their textbook mix of instrumentation and warm, vintage synths which gracefully paint a picture of the natural world which we live in. It’s albums like this which should make every listener wanna go out and spend four figures on some serious headphones, and Boards of Canada wouldn’t object.

Thee Oh SeesFloating Coffin
5It’s been a long time coming for the San Francisco garage titans that, most popularly, go by Thee Oh Sees. John Dwyer once used this moniker as his solo effort, but eventually became his primary effort, eventually growing from one man to a full blown band. Floating Coffin shows a shifting of the tide as the once tin-can recording sound has matured to a sonic boom of heavy guitar, driving rhythm and quintessential weirdo vocal. All these elements, and many more, equated to the most comprehensive sounding release in their extensive discography. “Come From the Mountain” opens this album with atomic bomb-shredding guitar and doesn’t really relent from this style till the soothing album closer, “Minotaur”. What’s most profound about Floating Coffin is that they have arrived with a permanent lineup, a better produced sound and a band mentality that creates a more unified front as opposed to it being solely Dwyer’s project. Oh yeah, they are also straight bananas on stage.

06. Disclosure – Settle
07. King Krule – 6 Feet Beneath the Moon
08. The National – Trouble Will Find Me
09. Atoms for Peace – Amok
10. Tyler, the Creator – Wolf
11. Jon Hopkins – Immunity
12. Kurt Vile – Wakin On a Pretty Daze
13. Rhye – Woman
14. Danny Brown – Old 
15. David Bowie – The Next Day
16. Vampire Weekend – Modern Vampires in the City
17. White Denim – Corsica Lemonade
18. Queens of the Stone Age – …Like Clockwork
19. Pickwick – Can’t Talk Medicine
20. Mount Kimbie – Cold Spring Fault Less Youth


White Denim at Bill Graham Civic Center 10/31. Photo by James Nagel.


White Denim at Bill Graham Civic Center 10/31. Photo by James Nagel.

Pete Mauch // Festival Manager & Columnist // @PeteMauch

Arcade FireReflektor
1All-star collaboration of these Canadian rockers and producer James Murphy proved a success with their fourth release. The album, filled with instant hits like “Reflektor” and “Here Comes the Night Time”, is heavily influenced by traditional Haitian music that adds a deep rhythm to the elongated grooves, but the real treat is how its all tied together. Arcade Fire let loose on Reflektor, finding comfort in initiating a party atmosphere while staying confident with a dash of weirdness.

Jagwar MaHowlin
2There seems to be a psychedelic air blowing in Australia these days, and Jagwar Ma’s debut album is filled with trippy yet danceable songs like the opening pair “What Love” and “Uncertainty”. “Come Save Me” evokes a dream land where the Beach Boys created acid-dance music. This album is gonna get a lot of play on Friday nights for many years to come.

White DenimCorsicana Lemonade
3These Texas rockers put out an intense album in 2013 filled with screaming guitar solos layered over intense time signatures and wailing vocals, but White Denim makes it all sound so simple. Songs like “Pretty Green” and “Cheer Up/Blues Ending” are straight up rocking songs, rooted in the genre’s past while offering a progressive take at where rock is heading. It never hurts to have Jeff Tweedy producing as well.

Daft PunkRandom Access Memories
4The instantly classic single “Get Lucky”, the summer anthem of 2013, is still hyper-catchy, but “Instant Crush”, “Lose Yourself to Dance” & “Doin’ It Right” succeed as pleasantly repetitious tunes that represent a variety of decades. What makes Random Access Memories work completely is all the mellow cuts, perfect for bedtime or a drive down the coast. The music lesson that is “Giorgio by Moroder” just takes off after the ballsy call to include an interview with Giorgio Morodor before launching into an exploratory space jam. 

Anders OsbornePeace 
5Underground New Orleans guitar slayer Anders Osborne released a very impressive long player, filled with deep personal songs that are truly outstanding. Title track “Sentimental Times” showcases Osbornes’ brilliant songwriting, and his guitar work is simply phenomenal and engrossing. Personal favorite “Sara Anne” begins with a reggae feel that builds into a great bouncy song that has me repeating it often.

06. Kurt Vile – Wakin On a Pretty Daze
07. Atoms For Peace – Amok
08. Sigur Rós – Kveikur
09. Superhuman Happiness – Hands
10. Foals – Holy Fire
11. Holy Ghost! – Dynamics
12. Jonathan Wilson – Fanfare
13. Youth Lagoon – Wondrous Bughouse
14. Darkside – Psychic
15. Bonobo – The North Borders
16. Phosphorescent – Muchacho
17. Savages – Silence Yourself
18. Deerhunter – Monomania
19. Ty Segall – Sleeper
20. Jim James – Regions of Light and Sound of God


Toro Y Moi at Fox Theater Oakland 11/15.


Toro Y Moi at Fox Theater Oakland 11/15. Photo by James Nagel.

Kevin Raos // Columnist // @Semirec

Toro Y MoiAnything in Return
1Toro Y Moi just keeps getting better and better with subsequent listens. Part dance, part melancholy electro, Anything in Return strikes many different chords. From feelings of longing and romance, to coming to terms with growing up, Anything in Return ranges the emotionally gamut. This album stood the test of time in 2013, being one the first albums of 2013 to make a dramatic impact, then remaining front of mind come Christmas time.

RhyeWoman
2Woman is the mellow album of the year — If you need to relax, fall asleep, or just chill out, this is the album for you. A go-to in the bedroom, Rhye’s Woman also has the uncanny ability to cradle and comfort you from start to finish. Equally as good in a live setting, Woman proves excellent musicianship can flourish in downtempo form. The record’s male vocalist, Milosh, also released an excellent solo record titled “Jetlag” in late 2013 that clicks at a slightly faster tempo.

White DenimCorsicana Lemonade
3Funky, fresh and just downright dirty, the guys from Austin can bring the heat. Corsicana Lemonade is an album that might not make many end of the year album lists, but it should not be overlooked. Cool and collected while still being rhythmically aggressive, Corsicana Lemonade pushes forward an innovative rock sound that should make The Black Keys nervous their throne is currently up for grabs.

Danny BrownOld
4Danny Brown’s Old creates a new genre of hip hop, one with an electronic psyche. Old may offend some and be lost on others, but Brown’s distinctive voice and tongue-flaunting rhymes constitute a “grower”. Here we have a rapper who isn’t afraid to talk about more than banging it out in the streets, and all together Brown breathes more fresh air into a hip hop landscape that has been seeing a resurgence the past few years.

Vampire WeekendModern Vampires of the City
5It’s tough to deny that indie kings Vampire Weekend are on top of their game right now. If you haven’t heard of these A-Punks that escaped from Cape Cod, you surely have been living under a rock. With Modern Vampires of the City, an already huge band has gotten huger, blasting off into new territory more than in previous efforts. Did I mention they shout out Oakland and Alameda, too?

06. Foals – Holy Fire
07. Sigur Rós – Kveikur
08. Boards of Canada – Tomorrow’s Harvest
09. Atoms For Peace – Amok
10. Disclosure – Settle
11. James Blake – Overgrown
12. Arcade Fire – Reflektor
13. Darkside – Psychic
14. Kurt Vile – Wakin On a Pretty Daze
15. Jon Hopkins – Immunity
16. Camera Obscura – Desire Lines
17. Wild Belle – Idles
18. Nine Inch Nails – Hesitation Marks
19. Blood Orange – Cupid Deluxe
20. Laura Marling – Once I Was An Eagle


Classixx at Fox Theater Oakland 11/15. Photo by James Nagel.


Classixx at Fox Theater Oakland 11/15. Photo by James Nagel.

Sean Little // Columnist // @Splittle

FoalsHoly Fire
1Foals have made their best album to date with Holy Fire. It’s a wall of sonic noise mixed with strong doses of angst that starts with “Prelude” and continues to pin listeners to their seats until the last track. The British quintet have produced my number one record of the year, and their live performance is one to see if you haven’t.

ClassixxHanging Gardens
2Classixx made a superb album here. Being a primarily electronic poduction group, their skills show something much deeper and diverse as they move from bouncey disco tracks to deeper, more evocative tracks like “Borderline” where they showcase their ability to craft a tune that hits heart strings and nods heads. Classixx are vastly underrated and should be given a serious listen, even by non-electronic fans.

DisclosureSettle
3What can be said that hasn’t already about this brotherly duo? They hit the scene hard and made a lot of people snap their heads in their direction. Their production quality and use of instruments in their sets has turned many notions of a “DJ” set on its head and opened the doors for a whole new type of set that calls to the crowd more. This album is full of gems that will surely go down in dance history as classics.

Hanni El KhatibHead In The Dirt
4Hanni grew up immensely since his last album and really fine-tuned his sound. This is a pure rock album with no pretense. If you arere tired of pop rock bands trying to make the next iPod commercial-worthy track and long for a record that slaps you in the face to wake you up while still being a tad gentle about it, this is the one for you.

A$AP RockyLONG.LIVE.A$AP
5Hip Hop has fallen to the wayside in years past as electronic has made its resurgence. Fans have grown weary of the over-produced, same old lyric songs that most artists offer. A$AP though brings in, what I consider to be the finest hip hop album of the year. Production by Skrillex, and cameos by Florence Welch, Drake, and Birdyman attest to his range not just as a rapper but as a producer and curator as well.

06. James Blake – Overgrown
07. Queens of the Stoneage – …Like Clockwork
08. The Strokes – Comedown Machine
09. Daft Punk – Random Access Memories
10. DJ Koze – Amygdala
11. Atlas Genius – When It Was Now
12. Portugal. The Man – Evil Friends
13. Bass Drum of Death – S/T
14. Yeah Yeah Yeahs – Mosquito
15. MS MR – Second Hand Rapture
16. Tesla Boy – The Universe Made of Darkness
17. Franz Ferdinand – Right Thoughts, Right Words, Right Action
18. Cut Copy – Free Your Mind
19. Ryan Hemsworth – Guilt Trips
20. The Weeknd – Kiss Land

Treasure Island Music Festival 2013: Top sets

TIMF_postPhotos by Marc Fong

Treasure Island Music Festival delivered one its best artist lineups in recent years October 19 & 20, allowing fans to immerse themselves in some of the best progressive dance and indie rock today. The festival seemed louder this year (that’s a good thing), and a sold out Saturday raged harder than most other TIMF days in the past. Sunday featured many acts with a tendency to inspire dancing and earplug use more than past Treasure Island Sundays (that is also a good thing).

Thoughts of lovely Indian Summer evenings were washed away by cold evenings, something that was on the mind of many artists. In the world of live music, artists are forced to choose style over function in relation to the idea of look versus comfort. Brian King from Japandroids must wear his white t-shirt and Alexis Krauss from Sleigh Bells has to show some leg, but fest-goers can wrap themselves in emergency blankets, furry costumes and bundles of layers. So we had that going for us.

View our show reviews below, including eight performances named TOP SET, along with hundreds of artist and scene photos.

SATURDAY

Saturday ~ October 19, 2013

Atoms-For-Peace1
Atoms For Peace ~ TOP SET
Saturday • Bridge Stage • 9:25pm

Thom Yorke does not like “playing at sea”, so don’t hold your breath in regards to Atoms For Peace playing SS Coachella anytime soon. Thom might not win any new fans with his ‘witty banter’, but the infectious cacophony he produced with Flea, Nigel Godrich, Joey Waronker and Mauro Refosco was difficult to ignore, or stand still to. Barrage is one word that comes to mind as you are pummeled by bass and drums at almost every moment, and it’s evident Flea loves the challenge of bringing the most complex afro-funk bass lines he humanly can. Atoms can’t slow down, they go hard the whole show. Hell, even the originally sedate UNKLE track “Rabbit in Your Headlight” had a rousing pulse to it. This is where Yorke wants to be, this is the sound that he wants to produce, especially as he brings his hyper-rhythmic love over into his primary project. -Kevin Quandt


Phantogram
Phantogram
Saturday • Tunnel Stage • 8:35pm

Phantogram are back on the road, road testing new material from their new self-titled EP and a forthcoming long player, and they closed out the Tunnel Stage Saturday with a rocking psychedelic dance party. “Black Out Days” packs a punch as powerful as “Don’t Move”, which closed out the set. “Nothing But Trouble” and “Howling at the Moon” (song titles unconfirmed) were two tracks the band unveiled despite commenting that they probably should not be playing them. Despite a few technical glitches and unwanted feedback, Sarah Barthel’s voice was flawless and the new material received a big response, adding up to one of the many highlights Saturday night. -Kevin Raos


Little-Dragon
Little Dragon
Saturday • Bridge Stage • 7:40pm

Swedish electro-pop group Little Dragon continues to mature with age. Performing on the big stage towards the end of the night, they were certainly granted the respect that they deserve. Having just wrapped the recording of their fourth studio album due in the spring, Little Dragon was eager to demonstrate their evolved sound to the eager crowd, giving older songs a new, sonically swirling spin while debuting a new song or two. Fronted by the talented vocals of Yukimi Nagano, Little Dragon sounded as good as ever on the island. -KR


Holy-Ghost
Holy Ghost! ~ TOP SET
Saturday • Tunnel Stage • 6:50pm

The largest act off DFA Records to be part of the bill since LCD Soundsystem, Holy Ghost! kept the “dance bar” raised high during their Sunset shift on Saturday at the Tunnel stage. Predominately playing tracks off their recently released 2013 album Dynamics, the New York disco distributors started a dance party almost immediately as the first notes hit the audience’s ears. Electrifying the crowd with new sing along favorites “Dumb Disco Ideas” and “Dance a Little Closer,” the Bay Area got a taste of what these boys will have on deck for their just announced New Year’s Eve headlining show at The Independent. -Molly Kish


Major-Lazer
Major Lazer
Saturday • Bridge Stage • 5:55pm

For a festival act, it’s hard to top the energy that Diplo and the Major Lazer crew bring to the stage. Riding a tsunami of booty clapping trap music into the rest of the evening’s insane line up, the crowd lost their collective minds witnessing the onstage antics and bone shattering bass lines of Major Lazer’s early evening set. Vuvuzelas blared, sirens rang and between the acts’ revamped hype-man roster, twerk army and Diplo’s human hamster ball, the festival escalated quite rapidly into full-throttle rage mode. -MK


DJ-Falcon
DJ Falcon
Saturday • Tunnel Stage • 5:10pm

French DJ & producer Stéphane Quême, aka DJ Falcon, had a prime time slot on paper, but his audience was rather small. It looked like most folks were taking a breather or getting food between Disclosure and Major Lazer. While there was plenty of space at the Tunnel Stage for DJ Falcon, it was filled out by dance-heads that had to keep the train moving. The set ended with Daft Punk’s “Get Lucky” into “Give Life Back to Music”, but the set would have had a bigger impact by ending with his own Random Access Memories cut “Contact”. -Mike Frash


Disclosure
Disclosure ~ TOP SET
Saturday • Bridge Stage • 4:20pm

The brothers Lawrence returned to the Bay Area for their second ever show, exemplifying how much things can change in the course of a year. Disclosure attracted the most dense and one of the most mentally immersed crowds of the weekend — it’s safe to say the UK duo are the most popular electronic act on the planet at the moment. From the moment these two fans set the tone of the show by sharing a lollipop, Guy and Howard Lawrence performed most of the tracks off their landmark first LP Settle, adding live drum and bass instrumentation. “Help Me Lose My Mind” was especially effective at slowing down the BPMs late in the set while keeping emotions high. If they could manage to bring along the likes of Jessie Ware, Aluna Francis, London Grammar & Sam Smith on tour with them to sing in the flesh, Disclosure would pack in arenas from Sydney to San Francisco. -MF


Poolside
Poolside
Saturday • Tunnel Stage • 3:35pm

Poolside curated a mellow, island vibe that suited the bright afternoon sun at the Tunnel stage. Ultra-catchy songs like “Why You Wanna”, “Do You Believe” and “Slow Down” deliver seductive mantras that are hypnotic, yet keep you swaying to the beat. A bonus Poolside highlight came for those that were lucky enough to stick around after Atoms for Peace had finished for an intimate Poolside DJ set on the way out. -KR


Danny-Brown
Danny Brown
Saturday • Bridge Stage • 2:45pm

This late addition to the lineup was embraced, even if we had to lose the UK rarity that is Tricky, and his early Saturday showcase allowed him to span his releases more fully, primarily with the release of Old. A long intro built hype nicely, and by the time Danny Brown sauntered onto stage, the youthful crowd was revved up and eating from the MCs hand for the remainder of a high-energy set. Highlights included “Radio Song” and “Monopoly” off XXX. The sky’s the limit for Brown as he settles into his newfound ‘King of Weird’ title. -KQ


Robert-DeLong
Robert DeLong
Saturday • Tunnel Stage • 2:00pm

21st century one man band Robert DeLong inspired early movement from the audience with his danceable, percussive beats. Equipped with an array of musical toys, DeLong demonstrated his ability to create deep layers of sound with only the use of his two hands. Robert DeLong is clearly a drummer at heart, however he takes his music to another level, synchronizing his beats through the tip of his drum stick. DeLong continues to build smart and innovative beats in a live environment, surpassing many of his ‘button-pushing’ peers in technique and output. -KR


ADULT.
Saturday • Bridge Stage • 1:15pm

Goth electro rockers ADULT. warmed up the main stage in a big way Saturday. Dressed in all black with a heavy dose of leather, singer Nicola Kuperus and beatmaker Adam Lee Miller, were battling the heat of the sun the entire set. Kuperus commented on her desire for the sun to go away and contemplated refuge under the stage. Kuperos, however, found relief from the sun during the final two songs when she jumped into the audience to perform at crowd level. Kuperos eventually found a patch of shade to the left of the stage under a tree to close out the set. -KR


SUNDAY
Sunday ~ October 20, 2013

Beck
Beck ~ TOP SET
SUNDAY • Bridge Stage • 9:25pm

Beck emerged for his Sunday headlining set about 25 minutes after the printed time, but he more than made up for it by playing a collection of upbeat material to help “keep us warm” well past 11pm. All in all, the set was a greatest hits showcase — the Bay Area weekend warriors still rocking on the island heard “Devil’s Haircut”, “Loser”, “E-Pro”, “Girl”, and to end the night “Where It’s At”. New songs like “I Won’t Be Long” and “Defriended” didn’t get played, but the final show of the fest did see one of the only guest appearances of the weekend. Beck treated the Bay to the live debut of “Let’s Get Lost” from the Twilight:Eclipse soundtrack, enlisting Alexis Krauss from Sleigh Bells for the wonderful duet. This surprise was only topped when Beck reminded us he was ‘bringing that quiet storm’ during “I Wanna Get With You (And Your Sister, Debra)”. Beck showed, yet again, that he is one of the coolest guys in music. -MF


Sleigh-Bells
Sleigh Bells
SUNDAY • Tunnel Stage • 8:30pm

Alexis Krauss and Derek E. Miller closed down the Tunnel Stage on a bitterly chilly Sunday evening. Though many in the crowd, and likely on stage, weren’t too cold for too long as the energy levels rose quickly as thick riffs and bombastic beats came rushing from off the Bay. “Comeback Kid” and “Tiger Kit” were early highlights in the set. Showbams contributors were commenting that Sleigh Bells has become a quintessentially solid festival band that all can enjoy and head-band along to. Even though it was the second to last set of the event, it would’t be the last time Alexis graced the stage on this night. -KQ


Animal-Collective
Animal Collective ~ TOP SET
SUNDAY • Bridge Stage • 7:40pm

Ramping up the “weird” during the festival’s most surreal performance, Animal Collective pulled out rare cuts and old classics for their Sunday night set on the Bridge Stage. Bringing along their all-consuming, giant mouth set design from the Centipede HZ tour this past year, the boys blew the minds of the early evening crowd with their intense visuals, spasmodic stage show and extended psychedelic jam session. Shying away from the radio hits, Animal Collective delved deep into their catalogue for a surprising set list with songs like “The Purple Bottle”, catering to an audience full of devoted fans and impressed noobs. A bold scheduling call for the traditionally more mellow of the two days, Animal Collective fulfilled the TIMF diversity quotient while properly mind-fucking the withstanding festival-weary crowd. -MK


Japandroids
Japandroids
SUNDAY • Tunnel Stage • 6:50pm

It’s hard to fathom how many miles on the road Brian Davis and David Prowse have racked up since the release of Celebration Rock. Treasure Island was their last show in the continent for a while, but they continue on to far off places before taking their well-earned break. In the meantime, the Canadian duo did their best to shake off the brisk wind by blazing through songs like “The Night of Wine and Roses” and “Fire’s Highway”. The enthusiastic crowd bopped along in a combination of adoration and warmth.  -KQ


James-Blake
James Blake ~ TOP SET
SUNDAY • Bridge Stage • 6:00pm

James Blake‘s sound fit the moment exquisitely as the sun began to disappear behind a long band of fog that threatened to take over Treasure Island. Blake now tours as a trio, wisely adding live percussion to enhance his dreamy soundscapes. Confident yet mostly stoic, Blake’s measured vocals hung in the brisk fall air to mostly pin-drop silence. The progressive nature of the 25-year old’s music suddenly feels so familiar since Blake blasted into the worldwide music scene four years ago. Maybe its a product of his influence, or just the fact that his heavenly voice, modulated or not, blends so well with his post-dubstep-based production. This set elicited gasps of joy from the throngs of female fans along the stage rail, and the ending of “Overgrown” had an orgasmic effect on a couple of people near me. Set placement of songs was ideal — “Retrograde” and “The Wilhelm Scream” bookended the performance perfectly, and “Voyeur” stole the show, igniting an extended dance session. James Blake is simply a legend in the making. -MF


Real-Estate
Real Estate
SUNDAY • Tunnel Stage • 5:10pm

Sunday afternoons don’t get much more ideal than sail boats as a backdrop, sun in our eyes and Real Estate churning out their breezy style of surfed-out indie rock. However, this set was not a showcase of previously released material, but rather a showcase of new material, and even a new touring keyboard player. Even with a few brand new songs filling their set, Real Estate still managed to represent both of their stellar releases. “Green Aisles” was especially strong as a large palm tree behind the stage swayed along with the crowd. -KQ


Starfucker
STRFKR
SUNDAY • Bridge Stage • 4:20pm

STRFKR sees you’re confetti cannons and giant hamster ball Diplo and ‘raises you’ a crowd surfing astronaut and an army of blow up dolls! STRFKR pulled out all of the stops for their over the top afternoon performance. Pulling from their four full length albums, the boys were out there to get the crowd moving. While catching the last glimpses of sunlight on the Bridge Stage, the band executed one of their most polished Bay Area performances to date amongst a complete shit show of on stage distractions and “hype animals.” Dancing furries, a sumo wrestling battle and simulated oral sex/bestiality provided humorous stage antics for the second half of the set. Depending on your mindset during this point in the weekend, the show either came off as unnecessary overcompensation or one of the best shows Sunday. -MK


HAIM
HAIM ~ TOP SET
SUNDAY • Tunnel Stage • 3:35pm

How is it possible that the spunky LA-based sister trio HAIM has never played a proper set in San Francisco until TIMF? Well, if life is about first impressions, the Bay Area is smitten. Part of HAIM’s success lies in their equal value and contributions to the group — Este, Danielle & Alana Haim share singing duties, adorable stage banter and the ability to play their instruments magnificently. Most of all though, it’s HAIM’s fearless and passionate approach to everything they do that is most memorable. They are all very comfortable on stage, as seen through their ‘in the moment’ mentality, responding to calls from the crowd and telling people to throw their food on stage for a mid-set snack. “Honey and I” got a stripped down treatment that worked well, something the ladies said they did specially for SF. Asking if we were ready to dance, HAIM launched into “Forever”, and TIMF obliged. This international sensation has finally played the other end of their home state, and HAIM is likely to play theater-sized venues next time they are back. -MF